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Discovery delivers Leonardo

Second spacewalk Monday night

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Space station Alpha with Leonardo attached  

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Long day for both crews

Second spacewalk Monday night

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JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Texas (CNN) -- Astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery attached an Italian-made moving van to international space station Alpha early Monday. The crew inside the station began unloading 5 tons of experiments and supplies.

The reusable $150 million module, named after Leonardo da Vinci, holds experiments for the new U.S. science lab Destiny.

Mission specialist Andrew Thomas used the shuttle's robot arm to lift Leonardo from Discovery's cargo bay and move it near Alpha for docking. The docking took place at 1:02 a.m. EST.

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The process was delayed a bit because the crew had to wait for video from a space station camera before attaching the module. NASA said Thomas needed the view because he had only 18 inches of clearance for maneuvering Leonardo beneath a Soyuz spacecraft on the space station.

Activation of the module was delayed Monday morning because of a power cable problem. Eventually, a jumper cable was used to feed power from the shuttle to Leonardo, NASA said.

Alpha commander William Shepherd opened the hatch to Leonardo and started removing some of the cargo. Two racks had been moved to the space station before the crews turned in for the day.

Leonardo, which is 21 feet long and 15 feet in diameter, will be filled with used equipment and trash from Alpha, returned to Discovery's cargo bay and brought back to Earth.

Long day for both crews

"It was a good day and we're going to have a great day tomorrow," said astronaut Shannon Lucid at Mission Control in Houston as the Discovery and Alpha crews headed to bed Monday around 11 a.m. EST.

The crews had stayed up a bit late working out details for the second spacewalk, which began at 11:47 p.m. EST and is scheduled to end at 6:17 a.m. EST on Tuesday.

Discovery's crew was awakened Monday by the song "Blast Off" from the cartoon show Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders. The tune was selected by the children of mission specialist Paul Richards.

Second spacewalk Monday night

Late Monday, Thomas and fellow Richards will set out on the second spacewalk of the mission. They are scheduled to install equipment on Alpha and work on a latch on one of Alpha's two giant solar wings.

The Italian-built Leonardo module being held above Discovery's cargo bay
The Italian-built Leonardo module being held above Discovery's cargo bay by the shuttle's robot arm  

Early Sunday, astronauts James Voss and Susan Helms completed the shuttle mission's first spacewalk, the longest ever for NASA. It lasted just four minutes shy of nine hours.

Discovery's primary mission was to deliver Alpha's first replacement crew, which includes Voss, Helms and new commander, Russian Yury Usachev. The three will spend the next four months living aboard the station.

The transfer of the replacement crew is being staggered. Usachev moved into Alpha on Saturday. Voss moved in Sunday night. Helms will move in on Tuesday night.

Alpha's first crew, led by Shepherd, will return to Earth on Discovery. It also includes his and his two Russian shipmates -- Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko return to Earth aboard Discovery after spending 140 days in space.

Discovery is scheduled to land at 2:02 a.m. on March 20 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.



RELATED STORIES:
Spacewalk survives glitches
March 10, 2001
Discovery docks with Alpha
March 10, 2001

RELATED SITE:
NASA Human SpaceFlight

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