Thursday, April 08, 2010

Cargo module open for unpacking

After some time spent working through a door jam, Discovery astronauts have opened the hatch to the Leonardo cargo module they installed on the International Space Station early this morning.

Inside: 17,000 pounds of supplies, equipment and experiments, including 16 refrigerator-sized racks holding 12,060 pounds of cargo.

"Good news, we got the hatch open," mission specialist Clay Anderson radioed to Mission Control just before 8 a.m.

The crew will immediately get to work removing some of the time sensitive items like experiments packed at the mouth of the module.

Among the items Anderson will remove first is a Rate Gyro Assembly that he and partner Rick Mastracchio will install on the mission's first of three spacewalks, scheduled to begin early Friday.

"It looks great," Anderson said upon entering Leonardo.

The module was installed just after midnight after being pulled from Discovery's payload bay by the station's 58-foot robotic arm.

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