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Astronauts Ready for Final Spacewalk

September 5, 2009

After a mid-mission rest, Discovery’s crew is now ready to go for Saturday’s third and final spacewalk of the mission.

With two spacewalks and more than half of their scheduled transfer work complete, the first half of the STS-128 mission’s eighth day in space was set aside for off-duty time for its crew.

The crew members wrapped up their relaxation with a 40-minute news conference, where they and their International Space Station counterparts answered questions from American, Canadian and European journalists.

After that, it was back to work with more cargo transfer ““ primarily packing up the emptied Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module with items to be sent home ““ and preparation for the mission’s third spacewalk.

Saturday’s spacewalk, to be conducted by mission specialists Danny Olivas and Christer Fuglesang, is scheduled to begin just before 4 p.m. The plan for the excursion has changed slightly from the pre-mission agenda. In Thursday’s spacewalk, Olivas and Fuglesang found that heater cables on the outside of pressurized mating adapter 3 appeared to be in an incorrect configuration to reach properly for relocation. That task has, therefore, been deferred.

The rest of the plan will stay essentially the same. The spacewalkers will be deploying a payload attachment system on the station’s truss that will be needed during the next shuttle mission to the station, and replace a rate gyro assembly, a power control module and two GPS antennas.

Discovery’s crew is scheduled to go to sleep around 3 a.m. Saturday and wake up at 10:59 a.m. The next shuttle status report will be issued after the crew gets its wakeup call or earlier if events warrant.

Image Caption: STS-128 Mission Specialist Danny Olivas participates in the mission’s second spacewalk as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA 

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