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  • Discovery's Astronauts Depart Space Station
    Posted by Mark Carreau 1:20 PM on Apr 17, 2010

    The Discovery astronauts undocked from the International Space Station early Saturday, initiating the final leg of a 14-day re-supply mission to the International Space Station. The seven astronauts are scheduled to touchdown at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Monday at 8:48 am., EDT. The weather outlook at the Florida landing site was favorable. The forecast includes partly cloudy skies and light winds. Discovery, with pilot Jim Dutton at the controls, backed away from the orbiting science laboratory on Saturday at 8:52 a.m., CDT. After undocking, Dutton steered the station around the space station, allowing his colleagues to conduct a photo survey of the orbital base. The shuttle's pilot carried out the "fly around" without rendezvous radar. The shuttle's Ku band antenna, which includes radar, failed after Discovery lifted off on April 5. During the fly around, the astronauts gathered photography of the station's new ammonia coolant tank assembly and an associated nitrogen tank with a jammed pressure control valve. The shuttle crew delivered more than 17,000 pounds of scientific equipment and other supplies, including the ammonia tank. The ammonia container was installed on the station's right side truss with three spacewalks to provide coolant that circulates through external radiators to dissipate heat generated by the station's internal electronics. The jammed valve, which was discovered following the final spacewalk, is blocking the ammonia flow. The imagery gathered on Saturday will help station managers in their troubleshooting. The station's cooling capacity is adequate for at least a month, engineers determined. However, the nitrogen tank assembly will be replaced during a future spacewalk.

    Tags: os99, Discovery, shuttle, ISS

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