The main payload on STS-120 is a connecting node, named Harmony. It will expand the pressurized volume in ISS to approximately 18,000 square feet and provide the docking ports for labs furnished by the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Those components are due to arrive on orbit late this year and early next.
This morning’s wakeup song, “Lord of the Dance,” performed by John Langstaff, was played for Commander Pam Melroy at 12:39 a.m. CDT.
Today Melroy and her crewmates, Pilot George Zamka and Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson, Doug Wheelock, Scott Parazynski, Dan Tani and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency will perform an inspection of Discovery’s heat shield using the shuttle’s robotic arm and the Orbiter Boom Sensor System. They’ll also check out the tools they need for Thursday’s rendezvous and docking to the station and install a centerline camera in the shuttle’s orbiter docking system. Spacewalkers Parazynski, Wheelock and Tani will prepare spacesuits that will be worn during the five spacewalks planned during ten days of docked operations.
The International Space Station’s Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Clay Anderson started their day at midnight. Today they will set up spacesuits already in the station’s Quest airlock, and conduct a leak check of the Pressurized Mating Adapter where Discovery will dock to the station Thursday morning at 7:35 a.m. CDT.
Anderson, now in the 138th day of his flight, will spend time exercising to prepare himself to experience the pull of gravity again when he returns to Earth with the shuttle crew. Tani will stay onboard to work with Whitson and Malenchenko to put Harmony in its permanent location on the front of the Destiny laboratory so the next mission, targeted to launch in early December, can deliver the European laboratory module Columbus.