The Italian-built Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module now will
be unberthed from the station and nestled back in Discovery’s
payload bay at 1:17 a.m. CST Sunday. Discovery will undock from the
station about 10:30 p.m. Sunday and spend Monday stowing equipment and
preparing for a return trip to Earth. With a return to the Kennedy
Space Center at 11:55 p.m. CST Tuesday (12:55 a.m. EST Wednesday),
Discovery will have spent almost 13 days in orbit, nine of them docked
to the station.
Commander Jim Wetherbee joined the rest of his Discovery crew, the returning Expedition One
crew and the Expedition Two crew in the station’s Destiny Module as they answered questions
from reporters during the traditional in-flight news conference. The briefing included queries
from reporters in Texas, Florida, Alabama and Moscow and covered subjects ranging from whether
the Expedition One crew is looking forward to its return to Earth to whether its astronauts
and cosmonauts would relish another long-duration stay at the outpost.
“We basically put the space station in commission,” said Bill
Shepherd, who moved to the Discovery crew Wednesday. “We have taken
something that was an uninhabited outpost, and we now have a fully
functional station where the next crew can do research. I think that's
the substance of our mission." Although Shepherd said he would be
happy to return home to his family, he wasn’t as sure about
returning to Earth gravity. “To be honest,” he said, “I'm not
that anxious to see what it's going to be like.”
Following a second hour-long reboost of the station, the complex is
now orbiting at an altitude of about 237 statute miles.
The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued Friday
On Friday, March 16, 2001, 7:00 p.m. CST, STS-102 MCC Status Report # 18
The crews of Discovery and the International Space Station will
spend a final full day today packing the Leonardo cargo module on the
station before they detach Leonardo from the complex Saturday night
and secure it in the Shuttle payload bay for the trip home.
The crew was awakened to the Irish song “The Rising of the
Moon” performed by The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem, selected
for Discovery’s Pilot Jim Kelly by his family in honor of
St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow.
Two more full days of joint work remain before Discovery is
scheduled to undock from the complex Sunday night. Tonight, in
addition to packing work, Commander Jim Wetherbee will perform a third
and final reboost of the station’s altitude, gently firing the
shuttle’s small steering jets to raise the spacecraft by a little
over two statute miles. Altogether, Discovery will leave the station a
little more than seven miles higher than when it arrived.
Wetherbee, Kelly, Paul Richards and Andy Thomas will take a break
from other activities to field questions from NBC News’ Weekend
Today Show and ABC News at 5:20 a.m. Saturday. An hour later, at 6:22
a.m., Cosmonauts Yury Usachev, commander of the second International
Space Station crew, Yuri Gidzenko, pilot of the first station crew,
and Sergei Krikalev, flight engineer for the first station crew, will
field questions from media gathered at the Russian Mission Control
Center in Korolev, outside Moscow.
The shuttle and station remain in excellent condition orbiting Earth
every 92 minutes. The next Mission Control Center status report will
be issued Saturday morning.
Go to STS-102 Flight Day 10 Highlights: