Discovery arrived at the ISS on Saturday. I always love watching the actual docking, because the piece of equipment used, the Orbiter Docking System was one I got to work on during my co-op with United Space Alliance. It’s a pretty cool piece of equipment. It was made in Russia, originally intended to allow the Russian shuttle, Buran, to dock with the Mir space station. The markings on the mechanism are all in Cyrillic, and even the electrical schematics are in Cyrillic. Kinda funky when you are trying to read those schematics to locate a problem, like we had in the summer of 2009.
Anyway, back to this mission. Check out these NASA Videos for the highlights of the flight so far. Each is just a little 3-5 minute bit of video and voice over about the highlights of each mission day. Today is also the first spacewalk, or EVA, of the mission. The astronauts are putting away a broken coolant pump module that had been replaced on the last mission, but had been left attached to the outside of the ISS. They are also rerouting a power cable to get ready for the new PMM module that discovery brought up (see my first post on Discovery). EVAs are interesting, but can be a little boring if you don’t understand what is going on. everything the astronauts do seems to be in slow motion, due to the bulky nature of their suits, as well as all the other concerns on their mind. Something as simple as turning a wrench is not so simple, as if the astronaut is not braced, he could end up turning himself around, and not the bolt.
All the EVAs and other shuttle activities are broadcast on NASA TV. Because of the timing of this mission, all the interesting stuff is happening during the work day, which means I’ve not been able to watch. IF you are in the same boat, I recommend the highlight videos I mentioned above. Enjoy!