Discovery was launched on mission STS-102 (Space Station flight 5A.1) into an initial 60 x 222 km x 51.6 deg orbit. The mission was delivery of supplies and equipment, and changeout of the Expedition One and Expedition Two station crews. STS-102 carried the Leonardo Multi Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), built by Alenia Spazio (Torino), to the International Space Station. The 6.4 m x 4.6 m cylindrical MPLM was a descendant of the Spacelab long modules. Also carried was a Spacehab/Energia unpressurized Integrated Cargo Carrier with LCA/MTSAS-A, RU, and PFCS. A sidewall adapter beam with two GAS canisters (G-783 and WSVFM) was also on board. WSVFM measured vibration during launch. Another adapter beam, probably at the rear of the payload bay, carried SEM-9. SEM-9 and G-783 contained high school microgravity experiments.
Leonardo carried 16 'racks' of equipment, including the Human Research Facility Rack (Rack 13) which allowed the astronauts to do extensive medical experiments, the CHeCS Rack (28), the DDCU-1 and DDCU-2 racks (7 and 9), the Avionics-3 (Rack 6), and the MSS Avionics/Lab (Rack 11) and Avionics/Cupola (Rack 12) racks for a total of 7 equipment racks to be installed on Destiny. Three Resupply Stowage Racks (50, 51, 52) and four Resupply Stowage Platforms (180, 181, 182 and 188) remained installed on Leonardo, with their equipment bags being individually transferred to the Station. System Racks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 were already on Destiny together with stowage racks 110 through 117. Each rack had a mass of 150-300 kg.
The orbiter fired its OMS engines at 1221 GMT to raise the orbit to 185 x 219 km. Discovery docked with the PMA-2 port on the Station at 0639 GMT on March 10. The LCA (Lab Cradle Assembly) was attached to Destiny's +Z side during an EVA. It was to be used on the next mission to temporarily place a Spacelab pallet on Destiny during installation of the Station's robot arm. Later, it would be the site for the main Station truss, beginning with segment S0.
The PMA-3, on Unity at the -Z nadir position, had to be moved to the port position to make room for Leonardo. An external stowage platform was attached to Destiny and the External Stowage Platform and the PFCS Pump Flow Control System were added to the port aft trunnion on Destiny. A rigid umbilical (RU) was connected to the PDGF grapple fixture on Destiny to support the Station's future robot arm. Leonardo was docked to Unity at -Z for a while so that its cargo could be transferred to the station easily; it was then be returned to the payload bay and brought back to earth.
At 0232 GMT on March 19 command of ISS was transferred to Expedition 2 and the hatches were closed. Discovery undocked at 0432 GMT and flew once around the station before departing at 0548 GMT. ISS mass after undocking was 115527 kg. The OMS engines fired for the deorbit burn at 0625 GMT on March 21, and Discovery touched down on runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center at 0731 GMT.
>>>Tonight's BIG EVENT: Launch of ATV Jules Verne (see Ascent Timeline below).
For his second run with the NASA/JSC experiment NUTRITION w/Repository, FE-2 Eyharts completed the all-day session, collecting urine samples for 24 hrs (to continue through tomorrow morning) and blood samples (for Serum & Heparin). (Acting as operator and CMO (Crew Medical Officer), Peggy Whitson performed phlebotomy on Leo, i.e., drew blood samples (from an arm vein) which were first allowed to coagulate in the Repository, then spun in the HRF2 RC (Human Research Facility 2/Refrigerated Centrifuge) and finally placed in MELFI (Minus-Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS). The RC was later powered off after a temperature reset to limit wear on the compressor, and cleaned. Background: NUTRITION is the most comprehensive in-flight study done by NASA to date of human physiologic changes during long-duration space flight; this includes measures of bone metabolism, oxidative damage, nutritional assessments, and hormonal changes. The Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile currently required on all U.S. Astronauts collects blood and urine samples preflight and postflight. NUTRITION expands this protocol by also capturing in-flight samples and an additional postflight sample. Furthermore, additional measurements are included for samples from all sessions, including additional markers of bone metabolism, vitamin status, and hormone and oxidative stressor tests. The results will be used to better understand the impact of countermeasures (exercise and pharmaceuticals) on nutritional status and nutrient requirements. The Clinical Nutritional Assessment profile (MR016L), first started on two Mir crewmembers and then on all ISS US crews, nominally consists of two pre-flight and one post-flight analysis of nutritional status, as well as an in-flight assessment of dietary intake using the FFQ (Food Frequency Questionnaire). The current NUTRITION project has expanded MR016L testing in three ways: Addition of in-flight blood & urine collection (made possible by MELFI), normative markers of nutritional assessment, and a return session plus 30-day (R+30) session to allow evaluation of post-flight nutrition and implications for rehabilitation.) Additional Details: ISS On-Orbit Status 03/08/08.