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A beautiful (first full) day in spaceposted May 17, 2011 1:01 a.m. CDT

Endeavour's six astronauts are awake and ready to embark on their first full day in space for the STS-134 mission. Today, the crew will focus on the routine inspection of the space shuttle's heat shield and preparations for docking to the International Space Station.

The crew awoke at 11:56 p.m. CDT Monday to "Beautiful Day" performed by the band U2. The song was played for commander Mark Kelly.

"It's good to be waking up in space again," radioed Kelly. "I want to thank Gabby, Claudia, and Claire for that great wakeup song," he said, referring to his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, and his two daughters.

This is not the first time Kelly has been woken in orbit to "Beautiful Day." One of Giffords' favorite songs, she requested it be played for Kelly, who she was then dating, during the 2006 STS-121 mission.

"It's always good to hear. Here is to a beautiful day in space," said Kelly.

The main focus of the day will be the six-hour inspection of Endeavour's wing leading edges and nose cap. The crew will use the shuttle's robotic arm and its 50-foot extension boom's specialized cameras to downlink detailed views of the thermal protection system for signs of any damage sustained during launch by specialists on the ground.

Later in the day, mission specialists Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff will work to unpack and prepare the spacesuits that they will use for the mission's four spacewalks.

The astronauts will also get ready for docking with the space station on Wednesday, checking out the tools that will be used for the rendezvous and setting up a camera that commander Mark Kelly and pilot Greg H. Johnson will use to guide the shuttle in.
Crew completes first full day in spaceposted May 17, 2011 9:55 p.m. CDT

Endeavour's astronauts completed Tuesday an inspection of the orbiter's thermal protection system. They also checked out their spacesuits and rendezvous tools in preparation for docking with the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled for 5:16 a.m. CDT on Wednesday.


The crew members took turns monitoring and using the shuttle's robotic arm and its boom sensor system to look at the reinforced carbon-carbon on their spacecraft's nose and wing leading edges, and some of its heat resistant tiles.

European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori and pilot Greg "Box" Johnson then latched the shuttle robotic arm onto the Express Logistics Carrier 3 (ELC3) to prepare for its installation shortly after arrival at the station.

Fincke and Feustel spent several hours preparing spacesuits for transfer to the station's Quest airlock, where the mission's four spacewalks will originate. The spacewalks are aimed at getting the International Space Station in the best possible shape for the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, through a variety of different tasks.

Feustel also completed a checkout of the Sensor Test for Orion Rel-nav Risk Mitigation, or STORRM, equipment. The system is flying aboard Endeavour to examine sensor technologies that could make it easier for future space vehicles to dock to the station. It will gather data during the initial rendezvous and docking to the ISS, during the nominal undocking, and again during a dedicated re-rendezvous later in the mission.

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