Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Discovery Leaves Station, Crew Awaits Japanese Cargo Vehicle

The population aboard the International Space Station is back to six following the departure of the space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew at 3:26 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

The shuttle crew’s newest member, Mission Specialist Tim Kopra, is returning to Earth after 44 days as a member of the station’s Expedition 20 crew, while his replacement, Nicole Stott, begins a three-month stay in orbit.

The space station crew will enjoy a day off Wednesday to rest up after the busy assembly mission. They’ll also prepare for the arrival of the next cargo delivery vehicle, the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, scheduled for launch from Tanegashima, Japan, at 1:01 p.m. Thursday.