The crew of the shuttle Endeavour worked this morning to prepare for its Saturday docking with the International Space Station and for the two planned spacewalks while there. The chase to catch up with the waiting station and its Expedition Two crew continues with another in the series of rendezvous maneuvers scheduled for about 5:30 this morning.
Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the station at 8:36 Saturday morning to deliver the Canadian built high tech robotic arm, called Canadarm2 and the Raffaello Multipurpose Logistics Module supplied to the program by the Italian Space Agency. Raffaello contains equipment and supplies for the station and its crew of Commander Yury Usachev, and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms. It also brings two new experiment racks for the station’s U.S. laboratory Destiny.
The Endeavour crew, Commander Kent Rominger, Pilot Jeff Ashby and Mission Specialists Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, John Phillips, Scott Parazynski, Umberto Guidoni of the European Space Agency and Yuri Lonchakov of Rosaviakosmos were awakened at 2:41 a.m. Friday by “Then the Morning Comes” by the musical group Smashmouth. It was chosen for Phillips, making his first spaceflight.
Today the shuttle crew will checkout three spacesuits and the orbiter’s robotic arm while rendezvous preparations include installation of the centerline camera and extension of Endeavour’s Orbital Docking System ring. Another rendezvous engine burn is scheduled shortly before the crew finishes today’s activities.
Space station crewmembers also will get ready for the rendezvous. Later today they will prepare equipment for transfer to the shuttle shortly after docking.
Endeavour will bring the first visitors to the Expedition Two crew since Discovery’s departure last month. Shortly after Endeavour’s scheduled undocking and departure from the station on April 28, a taxi crew is to arrive with a new Soyuz spacecraft. It will replace the Soyuz, which launched the first crew toward the station on Oct. 31, 2000. The Soyuz capsule has an on-orbit life of about six months.
Hadfield and Parazynski will conduct two spacewalks on Sunday and Tuesday. The first will focus on installation of the 2-ton, 57-foot-long Canadarm2. The second is devoted to checkout of the arm that will be instrumental in future space station assembly.
Major systems aboard Endeavour and the International Space Station continue to function well. The next status report will be issued later today, or as events warrant.
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