STS-106 Mission Commander Terry Wilcutt and his crew were awakened at 6:46 p.m. Central to begin their final full day of docked operations with the International Space Station. By the end of their workday on Sunday morning, Atlantis' astronauts will have finished their efforts of making the orbiting facility a home for the arrival of the first permanent residents of the outpost and all of the hatches between Atlantis and the station will have been closed in preparation for the Shuttle's departure on Sunday evening.
The wake up call for Wilcutt and his crew - Pilot Scott Altman along with Mission Specialists Ed Lu, Rick Mastracchio, Dan Burbank, Yuri Malenchenko and Boris Morukov - was the U.S. Coast Guard's "Semper Paratus" (Always Ready), played for Burbank, a Lieutenant Commander in the Coast Guard.
The Atlantis astronauts will finish checking the three tons of supplies and equipment that have been transferred from the Shuttle and an unmanned Russian supply vehicle in preparation for the arrival of the first station crew in November. Then in a reversal of the procedures they followed last Monday when they entered the station, the crew will close and secure the hatches that connect each of the station components. The first hatch closure between the Progress vehicle and the Zvezda Service Module should take place just after 10 p.m. Central. The final hatch between the station and Atlantis will be secured around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.
In addition to station closeout activity, the STS-106 astronauts will checkout rendezvous tools and install the centerline camera in the orbiter docking system that will be used to support the undocking and fly around of the station Sunday night.
The fourth and final in a series of jet thruster firings to gently raise the station's altitude will occur while the hatch closing activity is taking place. Beginning about 10:30 p.m., Atlantis' maneuvering thrusters will be pulsed to gently raise the station about 3½ statute miles. In all, the four maneuvers will have raised the average altitude of the orbiting facility by 14 statute miles.
The STS-106 crew will begin an eight-hour sleep period at 10:46 a.m. tomorrow morning. Following their wake up, the astronauts will immediately move into undocking preparations with undocking scheduled for 10:44 p.m. Sunday.
All of the systems on Atlantis and the International Space Station are 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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