Discovery and ISS Astronauts Keeping Busy

HOUSTON, April 8 (UPI) — NASA says Thursday was a busy day aboard the International Space Station as the Leonardo Multipurpose Logistics Module was moved from space shuttle Discovery.

The Italian-built module is filled with more than 17,000 pounds of cargo for the orbiting space station. NASA said the 21-foot-long, 15-foot-diameter Leonardo will require several days to empty. It then will be returned to Discovery’s cargo bay for a trip back to Earth, where it will be reconfigured with increased shielding and returned to the space station in September to become a permanent module.

Astronauts also configured the space station’s Quest airlock for the first of three planned spacewalks scheduled to begin about 1:40 a.m. EDT Friday. Discovery astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson will serve as the spacewalk team for all three activities.

Mastracchio and Anderson reviewed procedures for that spacewalk and then began their airlock “campout” decompression protocol at 11:16 a.m. EDT Thursday. The station’s crew went to sleep at 12:21 p.m., followed 30 minutes later by Discovery’s crew.

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