In preparation for Saturday's spacewalk, astronauts Tammy Jernigan and Dan Barry, assisted by Payette and Pilot Rick Husband, successfully tested three spacesuits aboard Discovery. All of the equipment was found to be in excellent condition and ready for the spacewalk, during which Jernigan and Barry will install both U.S. and Russian-built cranes to the station for use by future astronaut construction crews.
Ochoa and Payette also tested the Shuttle's 50-foot robot arm and used it to conduct a television survey of Discovery's payload bay. Jernigan and Ochoa extended the outer ring of Discovery's Orbiter Docking System in a successful test of the mechanism which will make the first contact with and capture a similar mechanism in the Pressurized Mating Adapter affixed to the ISS's Unity.
Before beginning their presleep period, the astronauts lowered Discovery's cabin pressure as a precursor to Jernigan and Barry breathing pure oxygen tomorrow night in advance of their spacewalk. This protocol helps to purge nitrogen from their bloodstreams, preventing any adverse effects from the vacuum of space during their excursion into Discovery's payload bay.
The crew will begin an abbreviated 7 ½ hour sleep period at 8:50 a.m. Central time today and will be awakened at 4:20 p.m. to begin preparations for rendezvous and docking.
Discovery is orbiting at an altitude of 230 statute miles, with all of its systems operating normally.