via OWH, the space shuttle Discovery has docked at the ISS with the latest expansion to the orbital platform, a Japanese designed laboratory module. The first spacewalk is scheduled for today to begin the installation of the new component.
"During a scheduled 6 1/2 hour spacewalk, astronauts Michael Fossum and Ronald Garan Jr. will prep the $1 billion lab, named Kibo - Japanese for hope - for installation by removing power and heating cables and various restraints that connect it to the shuttle. Later in the day, astronauts working from inside will use the space station's robot arm to lift the bus-size lab from the shuttle and anchor it to the station. "We're looking forward to a great day, an exciting day to install the Japanese Kibo module," Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who will help move the lab, said Tuesday as astronauts examined spacesuits and made other preparations for the spacewalk. Kibo, at 37 feet long, is bigger than the U.S. and European labs already attached to the space station."
Also planned today is the another look at the mechanical issue surrounding the joint preventing one set of the station's solar arrays from rotating to stay in step with the sun. The astronauts will also relocate a 50 ft laser equipped boom from the station to the shuttle. The boom is used to inspect the shuttle for damage from lift off and normally carried by the shuttle but it was left behind at the ISS by the previous shuttle mission to the station as the new station module took up the entire shuttle cargo bay.
Busy day in space.