The crews of Endeavour and the International Space Station spent today stowing unneeded supplies and hardware in the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and the shuttle middeck for return to Earth.
Working side by side, the Endeavour crew – Ken Cockrell, Paul Lockhart, Franklin Chang-Díaz, Philippe Perrin, Yury Onufrienko, Carl Walz and Dan Bursch – and the Expedition Five crew of Valery Korzun, Peggy Whitson and Sergei Treschev have transferred approximately 4,500 of the expected 4,665 pounds of material that will return to Earth inside the MPLM. All of the items slated to be moved from Endeavour’s middeck to the station have been transferred and the astronauts are now restowing return items.
Also today, Endeavour’s small steering jets were fired in a series of pulses to gently raise the station’s orbit by another mile. This was the second of three scheduled reboost maneuvers designed to raise the station’s altitude by a total of six miles.
The crewmembers also reviewed the plans for the third and final scheduled spacewalk of the mission. Thursday morning, at 9:43 a.m. Central, Chang-Díaz and Perrin will float out of the Quest airlock and begin work to replace a faulty wrist-roll joint on the space station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2. The spacewalk is slated to last about seven hours.
This afternoon, the crews took a break from the stowage activities to discuss the progress of their mission with reporters in the U.S., France and Canada during a joint crew news conference.
Endeavour’s payload bay cameras captured views of wildfires burning in Colorado about 4:40 p.m Central today. Smoke rising from the wildfires was clearly visible as the shuttle/station complex orbited 240 miles over the surface of the Earth.
The two crews are scheduled to go to sleep just before 8 p.m. today and will awaken just before 4 a.m. Thursday. All systems on both Endeavour and the International Space Station continue to function normally as the two craft orbit the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of 240 statute miles.
The next STS-111 status report will be issued Thursday morning, or earlier, if events warrant.
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