With all the work that they've accomplished over their past several days, space shuttle Discovery's crew have just a few more tasks left to finish before they say goodbye to their International Space Station colleagues.
The crews' last day together started at 2:23 a.m. CST, with the wakeup song, "Spaceship Superstar" by Prism. It was chosen for all the STS-133 crew members by the team of flight controllers who've been supporting them overnight throughout the mission.
The space shuttle and space station crews are scheduled to say their goodbyes and close hatches on their respective vehicles at 2:33 p.m. To prepare for that, mission specialists Alvin Drew and Steve Bowen will move the suits and tools they used during the mission's two spacewalks back over to Discovery.
Commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe and mission specialists Nicole Stott and Michael Barratt will finish up the last of the transfer work for the mission, bringing the few remaining items on their list over to Discovery for its return to Earth. Bowen and Barratt will also perform a checkout of some of the systems and tools that will be used as Discovery undocks from the station on Monday.
Meanwhile, station commander Scott Kelly will wrap up the repair work he started yesterday on the station's Oxygen Generation System (OGA), and flight engineer Cady Coleman will work an experiment that measures how astronauts' height change during visits to space.
Most of that work will take place during the crew's morning, leaving them several hours of off-duty time in their afternoon to enjoy before having to say their farewells.
The STS-133 and Expedition 26 crew members bid farewell to each other Sunday after more than a week working together aboard the International Space Station. The crews separated into their respective spacecraft and closed the hatches between them to prepare for space shuttle Discovery undocking on Monday.
The dozen space shuttle and space station crew members spent a total of seven days, 23 hours and 55 minutes working together.
Credit: NASA TV
"We delivered the last [U.S. segment] pressurized module, we delivered the ELC4 [cargo pallet], we did a whole bunch of transfer and we outfitted the [Permanent Multipurpose Module Leonardo] as best we could with the time available," said STS-133 commander Steven Lindsey at the start of their farewell ceremony.
"It was a pleasure to be up here," Lindsey continued on behalf of his five crewmates. "We appreciate your hospitality, we appreciate you putting up with us knocking your stuff off the walls, generally trashing your station."
"We had a great time," he told the space station's crew. "We appreciate the hospitality, enjoyed the crew meals together and we're going to miss you guys. So thanks for everything."
"It was a very successful time onboard with you guys," ISS commander Scott Kelly said in return. "We really enjoyed having guests. This is the first group of guests I've had in about 150 days since I've been up here."
"We're going to miss you but most of all, we're going to miss Discovery," said Kelly. "Discovery has been a great ship and really has supported the International Space Station, more so I think any other space shuttle. We wish her fair winds and following seas."
"It has been an honor and a privilege to work this mission with you," ISS flight director Royce Renfrew radioed from Mission Control in Houston. "A couple of folks have asked me what I'd feel at this moment, and I think the answer is I just feel really proud to take Discovery home at the very top of her game. A lot of that credit goes to the onboard crew. You guys rock."
"You guys are really the unsung heroes in this," replied Kelly. "We had so much going on simultaneously, I imagine these last couple of days — not today, but the day before and the day before that — were probably the two most busiest days in the space station program. All of your folks who have worked on this in both programs, shuttle and station, should be very proud."
"You guys have a safe trip home," said Renfrew. "We'll see some of you sooner, but we look forward to all of you all back on terra firma."
"I just got to say," added Lindsey, "it's a real testimony to your team and your leads and all that you did to keep us organized, keep us focused on the tasks at hand and get them done that made this a success."
"We were just the executors but you guys were the ones who really put this all together. So thank you from both crews for all that you do," stated Lindsey.