March 25, 2009

Astronauts Get Ready For Shuttle Undocking Today

The crews of space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station took a break yesterday in and around transfer work ahead of today's farewell and undocking of the shuttle. The ten spacefarers also talked with President Barack Obama joined by school children at the White House and later with reporters covering their mission.

The stage is set for Discovery to undock from the station at 2:53 p.m. today after the crew bids farewell to its temporary home and the Expedition 18 crew, leaving behind Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and bringing home Sandy Magnus after four months aboard the station.

Early in the day Tuesday, the crews gathered for a long distance phone call from President Obama flanked by school children and congressional members to quiz the ten crew members on their mission and life in space.

Later, the crew turned its attention to transfer checklists as the time nears to say goodbye leaving the station larger and more powerful than it was before Discovery arrived.

The formal farewell and hatch closing is scheduled just before noon Wednesday followed by leak checks ahead of departure.


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