Tuesday, March 17, 2009

STS-119: Flight Day 3

Today, Discovery will do a rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM) or "orbiter backflip" before it docks with the International Space Station. The crew on board the ISS will take high res photos and downlink them to us for review. We will be identifying and debris impacts, protruding gap fillers, or anomalies with the thermal protection system. So far we have heard there are no major issues with the Orbiter. Discovery will be docking with the ISS a little after 5pm EDT!

Over night, the astronauts used Discovery's 50-foot-long boom on the end of the robot arm to perform laser scans and get high-res imagery of the nose cap and wing leading edge panels. The other half of our group is looking for any signs of impact damage as well.

Overall, there were no obvious signs of debris or damage seen in video downlinked from the shuttle during launch, but we will be verifiying that over the next couple of days in here in Houston as we perform a detailed assessment on the imagery.

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