The Discovery crew is treated to a live musical performance as they prepare for their last day in orbit.
The crew members of the
space shuttle Discovery received another special wake-up call Tuesday, as they
began what is scheduled to be Discovery's last full day in space on its last
mission into the heavens. The wakeup call was a live performance of the song
"Blue Sky" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The song received the most votes
in NASA's Top 40 song contest receiving 722,662 votes (29 percent of the
2,463,774 total). It was originally written as a tribute to the space program
and workforce. The space agency noted the performance was the first time a
shuttle crew has been awakened "live" from Mission Control, Houston.
NASA reported the rest of
the crew's day would be spent primarily on preparations for Wednesday's
landing, which is scheduled for 10:57 a.m. at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialist Nicole Stott
will be performing a checkout of Discovery's flight-control systems and firing
its reaction-control system jets, and all members of the crew will work
together to stow hardware and equipment.
On Monday, Discovery
undocked from the International Space Station for the last time. As the shuttle
moved away, Station Commander Scott Kelly praised the cooperation among
crewmembers of both spacecraft. Lindsey said the team effort had allowed them
"to accomplish well over 100 percent of our objectives."
Boe flew the orbiter in a
vertical circle around the station while crewmembers took pictures of the
station to document its condition. The space agency said one big change from
the previous fly-around by Atlantis during STS-132 last May was the addition of
the Permanent Multipurpose Module brought up by Discovery. After completing the
circle, Discovery did two separation burns to take it away from the station.
Lindsey later had words for
Bryan Lunney, the lead STS-133 shuttle flight director working his last shift
before leaving NASA. "Bryan has been a great friend, a terrific flight director
and a leader. We're going to really miss him," the Discovery commander radioed
down during a farewell gathering in Mission Control.
Lindsey, Boe and Mission
Specialist Alvin Drew devoted much of their day to the standard late inspection
of the heat-resistant reinforced carbon-carbon surfaces. Using the robotic arm
and its 50-foot orbiter boom sensor system extension, they began the inspection
early Monday morning with a look at the right wing. The subsequent nose cap
inspection was followed by a look at the left wing. Images and data from the survey
are sent to the ground for evaluation by experts, NASA reported, and they will
make sure no damage to the thermal-protection system occurred during its stay
Discovery was the shuttle
that launched the Hubble Space Telescope and the Ulysses probe designed to
study the Sun. The shuttle also carried Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn,
who was 77 at the time, back into space during STS-95 in October 1998, making
him the oldest person to venture into space. Discovery has flown 38 flights, completed
5,247 orbits and spent 322 days in orbit. The shuttle is the orbiter fleet
leader, having flown more flights than any other orbiter in the fleet,
including four in 1985 alone.