In the final hours of docked operations between Atlantis and the International Space Station the seven member crew continued transferring supplies and equipment, including an exercise treadmill, for use by the first resident crew later this year.
In an activity that occupied much of their work day, Pilot Scott Altman and Mission Specialists Ed Lu, Dan Burbank and Boris Morukov completed installing the treadmill in the Zvezda module of the station this morning. The treadmill includes a sophisticated vibration isolation system that prevents exercise-induced vibrations from being transmitted into the hull of the Space Station and disturbing sensitive experiments that will be conducted on board by resident crews.
Inside the Unity module, Burbank and Rick Mastracchio reinstalled four Common Berthing Mechanism controllers in the port leading from Unity to the docking port currently occupied by Atlantis. The CBM controllers were removed by the STS-96 crew to provide greater clearance during the transfer of supplies from the Shuttle to the Space Station. The installation of the controllers sets the stage for the arrival of the U.S. laboratory module, Destiny, early next year.
Cargo transfer continues to proceed ahead of schedule with 4,285 pounds of supplies, water and equipment being moved from Atlantis to the station and 762 pounds of material carried to Atlantis for the return trip home. Among the supplies transferred to station today were additional food, a food warmer, a ham radio and the last of the computer equipment for the first station residents. About six hours of transfer activity remains for the crew tomorrow when they will move some final water containers and food to the station. The crew also has completed unloading supplies from the Progress cargo craft and reloading that craft with trash. The cargo craft will be undocked from the station remotely before the first resident crew arrives later this year.
The astronauts will begin an eight-hour sleep period later this morning, with a wake-up call from Mission Control scheduled for 6:46 p.m. CDT. After almost one week working on board the station, the astronauts and cosmonauts will begin turning off lights and closing the doors of their home in space in preparation for Atlantis’ departure from the station on Sunday night. The crew will back out of the station module-by-module, closing a series of 12 hatches beginning at the Progress cargo ship shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday and ending with closing hatches between Unity and Atlantis shortly after 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
Atlantis is in a 206 x 199 nautical mile orbit with all systems functioning normally. The next STS-106 status report will be issued about 8 a.m. Sunday or sooner if events warrant.
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