Learn about the mission of the space shuttle Discovery and about the tasks of the Discovery crew.
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Learn About the Discovery's Space Mission Part 2/3 Commander of Discovery Jim Wetherbee also conducted two tests using the shuttle’s steering jets looking at a potential for using the shuttle’s primary reaction control system thrusters to control station altitude and at the optimum method for re-boosting the station using those jets. Wetherbee also set up a shuttle’s autopilot to re-boost the station over night eventually raising the station’s altitude by more than eight statute miles. Inside the station, the task of transferring nearly five tons of vital equipment from the MPLM was almost complete. All seven system’s racks equipment that included electronics, communications gear, experiments, and medical facilitates were moved to the stations Destiny Laboratory. Among those racks was the first major piece of station science equipment called the human research facility which would study the effect of weightlessness on the human body. Eight days have now elapsed since the Discovery space shuttle had blasted clear of launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center marking the halfway point of STS-102 mission. The astronauts and cosmonauts were now busy deploying some of the new equipment that had been transferred to the ISS. They also began packing for the shuttle’s trip home. With the deliverable cargo now moved out of the multipurpose logistics module, shuttle Pilot Jim Kelly along with Andy Thomas and Paul Richards started off in Leonardo stowing their returned cargo consisting of trash, unneeded equipment and personal items belonging to the returning station crew members. At the same time Bill Shepherd, Yuri Gidzenco, and Sergei Krikalev had spent more than 130 days in space as the Expedition 1 crew spent more time with the Expedition 2 crewmembers discussing station conditions and familiarizing them with the processes that had been established. In the Destiny Laboratory Jim Voss and Susan Helms began setting up and checking out the workplaces from where they will command the station’s Canadian built robotic arm. Working with their station commander Yuri Usachov, the crew members set up equipment that was delivered in two racks that had been carried into space inside the MTLM. The robotic arm itself was due to be delivered on the next assembly mission scheduled to take place in a month’s time. The first task of the robot arm once it is operational will be to unbirth the huge airlock from the payload bay of the shuttle Atlantis and install it on the International Space Station. That airlock will enable both US and Russian astronauts and cosmonauts to perform space walks from the ISS using each other’s suits if necessary. Whilst work continued on behind them, Discovery Commander Jim Wetherbee and Pilot Jim Kelly to time out to represent the ISS crews at a space to earth press conference. The astronauts had expected day nine to be their last day for packing cargo back into the MPLM for transfer back to work but the day began with advice from ground control at Houston that plans had changed. Space craft communicator Katie Coleman announced that flight-directed John Shannon after consultation with shuttle and station managers had decided to extend the mission to allow ground controllers more time to analyze the placement and weight distribution of the items being stored in Leonardo for the flight home. The crew on board the ISS welcomed the news stating that whilst technically ready to return home, they could well utilize the extra time by going into further detail while introducing the new crew to the station operation.