With Commander Kent Rominger at the controls, Endeavour gently docked with the International Space Station this morning as the two spacecraft flew 243 miles over the southern Pacific Ocean, just southeast of New Zealand. Docking occurred at 8:59 a.m. central time.
Rominger, Pilot Jeff Ashby and Mission Specialists John Phillips, Chris Hadfield, Umberto Guidoni, Scott Parazynski and Yuri Lonchakov, briefly opened a hatch leading from the Shuttle into Pressurized Mating Adapter-2, and retrieved a battery-powered drill for use on Sunday’s space walk. They also left behind some supplies that were later retrieved by the station crew. From the station side of the hatch leading to PMA-2, flight engineer Jim Voss used a video camera to film the smiling Shuttle crew members as they transferred four water containers, computer equipment, some fresh food and film for the IMAX camera.
Though securely linked together, the two crews are not scheduled to greet one another in person until early Monday, following the first space walk to be conducted Sunday by Hadfield and Parazynski. Late in their day, Hadfield and Parazynski were joined by space walk coordinator Phillips in conducting some final checks of the suits and hardware that will be used during tomorrow’s planned 6 ½ hour space walk. The full crews on both vehicles then reviewed the procedures to be followed throughout Hadfield and Parazynski’s space walk.
This first space walk, scheduled to begin about 6:20 a.m., will focus on installing the station’s robotic arm, called Canadarm2, and attaching an ultrahigh frequency (UHF) antenna on the station’s exterior. A second space walk is scheduled for Tuesday, and will focus on establishing power connections and checking out the new 57.7 foot-long robotic arm.
Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineer Susan Helms verified the performance of the station’s carbon dioxide removal system, called Vozdukh, which had been operating in a slightly degraded condition. The system started working normally overnight on its own, and their checkout confirmed that it is operating within normal parameters. Usachev, Helms and Voss also exercised and continued preparations for the next week of joint operations with the Shuttle crew.
All systems are in good shape aboard both vehicles. The Station crew will go to sleep at 5:31 p.m. today, followed 10 minutes later by the crew of Endeavour. Mission Control will awaken the shuttle crew at 1:41 a.m. Sunday and the station crew will hear its wake-up alarm tone at 2:01 a.m.
The next status report will be issued Sunday morning, or as events warrant.
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