Nearing the end of their third month in space, the three-member Expedition 1 crew spent a smooth but busy week aboard the International Space Station, practicing emergency procedures, performing routine maintenance and inspections, and preparing for the continued expansion of the station with the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis next month.
With some additional testing of solid rocket booster cables successfully completed, Atlantis is now planned to be moved back to its Kennedy Space Center launch pad on Friday. Launch of the shuttle on mission STS-98 is now planned for about 6:11 p.m. EST Feb. 7. Atlantis will bring the first station laboratory, the United States-developed Destiny module, to the orbiting complex.
Station Commander Bill Shepherd, Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev and Pilot Yuri Gidzenko practiced emergency procedures aboard the station this week, dealing with a simulated leak aboard the complex and performing the preparations that would be needed if the station were evacuated. Such practice sessions may be performed regularly by station crews to ensure emergency procedures remain up to date and the crew's skills remain sharp. Station flight controllers regularly simulate such activities on the ground for similar reasons.
Also this week, the station crew worked with updating and expanding the station's Inventory Management System, a software package that tracks the amount and location of supplies and equipment aboard the outpost. The crew is continuing to add to the system supplies brought to the station in December by Shuttle mission STS-97, and they are expanding it to prepare for the arrival of the Destiny lab and its equipment.
The three space fliers also continued their daily regimen of exercise and performed several routine housekeeping-type activities -- changing filters, inspecting equipment and checking station systems. Next week, plans for the crew and flight controllers may include a test of station procedures that will be used for the docking of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Orbiting the Earth at an average altitude of 230 statute miles, the International Space Station is operating in excellent condition. The next Expedition One status report will be issued on Wednesday, Jan. 31, or as developments warrant. -end-
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