Mission Day 6,7 and 8: They aren’t half busy up there

Bit of a post-weekend post to round-up all what happened. And believe me there’s quite a lot to get through.

Saturday saw quite a big ceremonial event, ring ring…ring ring, who was that on the phone?….. oh it’s the Pope!

It was a fairly big moment, and a bit of a celebration of the fact that for the first time in its history there are two Italian astronauts aboard the station at one time. If you want to see the call again you can go here.

Away from the various bits of pomp and circumstance that crop up from time to time there was the more serious business of checking Space Shuttle Endeavour’s heat shield for damage…

The astronauts broke out the high res cameras and laser sensors and after a bit of deliberation the bods on the ground have cleared the shuttle for reentry.

Outside the station and there was also a bit of trouble with loose bolts on thermal covers that needed to be temporarily removed. A couple appeared to have a bit of a habit of floating away which caused mission control to have to slightly change their plans for the spacewalk.

Finally the space station crew have been preparing for the departure of half their crew. Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratiev, NASA’s Catherine Coleman and the legendary European Space Agency’s Paolo Nespoli will leave the space station after 6 months up in space. But not before they take a picture that looks like this…

That’s the shuttle when it was docked to Russia’s Mir space station and the departure of the Soyuz capsule provides the opportunity for a similar picture to be taken while a shuttle is docked to the ISS. An extremely important cultural moment created by the delay to Endeavour’s launch. You can guarantee i’ll post the picture up as soon as it’s on the ground.

Quick final thought for the day, NASA announced this…

If you do nothing else on that day I urge you to fill that form in on that day. It’s quick, easy, and could well change your life.

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