The shuttle crew woke up this morning at 5:32 a.m. CDT to “Hold Me with the Robot Arm,” performed by Yusuke Hanawa. The song was played for Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide.
Overnight, mission specialists Mike Fossum and Ron Garan camped out inside the Quest airlock in preparation for their spacewalk today. This is done in order to purge their bodies of nitrogen before they don their spacewalking suits. Sleeping overnight at the lower pressure significantly reduces the amount of time they must breathe pure oxygen as they prepare for the spacewalk.
Today’s spacewalk is the first of three scheduled for the mission. The 6.5-hour spacewalk by Fossum and Garan will prepare the Kibo lab for installation on the station and assist with transfer of the OBSS back to the shuttle from the station, where it has been stored since the last shuttle visit.
The two also will demonstrate a technique that may be used to clean debris from the station solar alpha rotary joint, which has known debris degrading its operation.
Discovery crew members are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Ken Ham, mission specialists Karen Nyberg, Garan, Fossum, Hoshide and Garrett Reisman. The Expedition 17 crew is Commander Sergei Volkov and flight engineers Oleg Kononenko and Greg Chamitoff.