With one full day of docked operations remaining to complete its work on the International Space Station (ISS), the seven-member crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis continued setting up equipment for the station's first inhabitants.
The astronauts began their sixth day attached to the Space Station this evening, as Mission Control awakened the crew at 6:46 p.m. Central time with the University of Connecticut Fight Song, performed by the University of Connecticut Band. The music was played for Rick Mastracchio, an alumnus of that school.
On the timeline for flight day nine will be the setup of the ISS treadmill and its associated equipment. The device, known as the Treadmill with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (TVIS), allows station crews to maintain physical conditioning during their extended flights without shaking sensitive experiments.
Astronauts also will reinstall the Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM) Controllers that had been removed by the STS-96 crew to facilitate logistics transfer during the ISS supply and setup missions. The CBM controllers are suitcase-size devices that control the latching of modules and ISS hardware to the Unity node. They were removed to avoid damage to the units and to ease the transfer of bulky items through the hatches. This reinstallation was a get-ahead task that the crew was able to work into its timeline.
Pilot Scott Altman and Mission Specialist Ed Lu will participate in a series of in-flight interviews with three media outlets Saturday. They will talk with WHEC-TV in Rochester, NY, Fox News Network and the Orlando Sentinel beginning at 6:56 a.m. CDT.
Cargo transfer is proceeding well with more than 3,500 pounds of supplies, water and equipment having been moved from the orbiter into the station. The crew has unloaded approximately 1,300 pounds from the Progress resupply vehicle presently docked to the end of the Zvezda module. The empty Progress is now being used as a trash receptacle and will be remotely deorbited prior to the arrival of the first resident crew to the Station later this fall.
Atlantis is in a 206 x 199 nautical mile orbit with all systems functioning normally. The next STS-106 status report will be issued at 7 a.m. Saturday or sooner if events warrant.
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