Hubble Servicing Mission 3A Update - Dec. 20-21 Day 1

Update for Tuesday Dec. 21, 10:45 CET

The first full day of Servicing Mission 3A is now over and the astronauts have gone back to sleep. Everything went according to plans. Nicollier and Clervoy powered up the robotic arm. Afterwards Clervoy moved a camera on the robotic arm and did, together with the two spacewalk teams Nicollier/Foale, and Smith/Grunsfeld, a thorough check-out of the equipment in the Shuttle cargo bay - the socalled berthing table on which Hubble is going to sit during the spacewalks, and the components they are going to replace. After lunch the pilots Mission Commander Brown and Pilot Kelly set up tools for the rendezvous with Hubble while Nicollier, Foale and Grunsfeld unpacked and checked the spacesuits.

In a brief interview Mission Specialist Foale explained that he personally was convinced that the they would be able to replace the six gyros, install the voltage/temperature kits, change the computer, the Fine Guidance Sensor, the S-band transmitter and the recorder during the three planned spacewalks.

The astronauts will wake up at 16:20 CET. The capture of Hubble is expected to take place at 01:40 CET tonight, Dec. 22.

Update for Monday Dec. 20, 19:25 CET

The seven astronauts woke up at 16:50 CET. They are still in the "post sleep" phase. This basically means waking up, eating breakfast just like any other person. And then naturally also reviewing today's plan carefully which has been updated to reflect the actual launch time. Mission planners have had a hard time following all the changes in the schedules as the launch has been postponed time after another. But everything is now in place.

In a few minutes - around 19:30 CET - the team will begin their duties of the day. The day will mainly be concerned with unpacking tools, checking equipment and spacesuits. Around 7:00 CET tomorrow morning there will be a half hour engine burn manoeuvre to get Discovery in a better orbit for the grappling of Hubble. Other than that the most important issues of the day will be getting everything ready for tomorrow's grappling operation.