Engineering analysis continues on the imagery collected so far, but no apparently serious problems with Discovery's heat shield have been noted. Mission Manager Wayne Hale said in a Friday afternoon press conference, "We're feeling very good about Discovery coming home."
It was a very busy day for the crewmembers, Discovery Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot Jim Kelly and Mission Specialists Soichi Noguchi (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Steve Robinson, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence and Charlie Camarda, and the Station's commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA Science Officer John Phillips.
Raffaello was unberthed from Discovery's cargo bay just before 1 a.m. CDT Friday by the Station's Canadarm2, operated by Lawrence and Kelly and attached to the Station's Unity Node. Hatches were opened a little after 10 a.m. Transfer of its cargo to the Station began soon thereafter. Crewmembers had begun transferring Station equipment and supplies from the Shuttle's mid-deck earlier.
Preparations for the targeted survey of Discovery's thermal protection system began with Kelly and Phillips attaching the end of Canadarm2 to the Station's Mobile Base System. They subsequently detached the other end from the Destiny Laboratory so the arm could be used in its new position to provide situational awareness views of the survey with its cameras.
Camarda and Kelly used the Shuttle's robot arm and the 50-foot Orbiter Boom Sensor System to look at six areas to determine if they had sustained damage. Mission managers said there was no indication of serious damage in early looks at downlink from that survey and earlier images. Detailed analysis of images starting with Discovery's Tuesday launch and continuing through Friday's survey was continuing.
Noguchi and Robinson will make three spacewalks at the Station, and today they continued preparations for the first, scheduled to begin at 3:44 a.m. Saturday. They reviewed spacewalk procedures and checked out the SAFER, or Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue, a rescue device to help a spacewalker who goes adrift return to the spacecraft.
Hatches between Discovery and Station were closed as the Shuttle's cabin pressure was reduced to 10.2 psi for the pre-breathe period, during which spacewalkers became gradually acclimated to the lower pressures of space suits to avoid formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood. The excess air from the Shuttle was transferred to the Station to replenish its atmosphere.
Collins and Thomas talked with reporters from the Associated Press Radio Network, National Public Radio and the CBS Radio Network beginning a little after 5:20 a.m. CDT.