The day on orbit was one of preparations as Endeavour’s seven astronauts got ready for tomorrow morning’s scheduled arrival at the International Space Station, and Sunday’s planned space walk by Mission Specialists Chris Hadfield and Scott Parazynski.
Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the station at 8:32 a.m. Saturday although the crews will not greet each other until early Monday. In preparation for tomorrow’s rendezvous and docking, Hadfield and Parazynski checked out the tools and hardware that will be used during Endeavour’s approach to the station, and Commander Kent Rominger and Pilot Jeff Ashby installed a center-line camera in the orbiter docking system.
Rominger, Ashby and Flight Engineer John Phillips performed another in a series of engine firings to refine Endeavour’s approach to the Station. As of 5 p.m., Endeavour was approximately 1,400 miles behind and below the station, and closing that distance at the rate of about 171 miles every orbit of the Earth. Hadfield and Parazynski also verified the operation of the spacesuits they will wear on two scheduled space walks to install and activate the new Canadarm2 robotic arm.
European Space Agency astronaut Umberto Guidoni began preparations for the transfer of hardware and material from Endeavour to the station and worked with Ashby in checking out the shuttle’s robotic arm to verify its operation. Yuri Lonchakov of Rosaviakosmos worked on the middeck and filled two large water containers for later transfer to the station.
Endeavour’s astronauts will go to sleep at 5:41 p.m. today, awakening at 1:41 a.m. Saturday. They will quickly begin the final stages of their chase of the International Space Station. The final intercept burn is scheduled for 6:13 a.m., with docking at 8:32 a.m., as the two spacecraft fly overhead the Southeast coast of China, northeast of Victoria, Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, on the space station, Expedition 2 Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Susan Helms and Jim Voss continued packing return items and making sure their orbiting home is ready for the crew’s first visitors. Flight controllers report that the Russian segment’s carbon dioxide removal system is not working at its highest rate, probably due to a clogged filter screen. The situation poses no problems for the upcoming shuttle visit, but could lead to increased use of backup lithium hydroxide removal systems after the shuttle undocks and additional crew members arrive on a Soyuz taxi flight. The station crew may be asked do some repairs on the unit on Saturday.
Otherwise, all major systems aboard Endeavour and the International Space Station continue to function well. The next status report will be issued Saturday morning after the crew is awake, or as events warrant.
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