Gaining on the International Space Station by 580 statute miles with each 90-minute orbit, Endeavour’s crew spent today completing preparations for Friday’s scheduled docking with the complex.
With docking scheduled at 11:17 a.m. CDT tomorrow, STS-111 Commander Ken Cockrell, Pilot Paul Lockhart and Mission Specialists Philippe Perrin and Franklin Chang-Díaz today verified all of Endeavour’s equipment is ready. Perrin and Chang-Díaz set up a centerline camera Cockrell will use during Friday's final approach to align Endeavour with the station's docking port. They also successfully tested the shuttle docking system and extended it to a position ready for contact with the station.
Cockrell and Perrin activated the shuttle robotic arm and used its cameras to survey the contents of the payload bay. Perrin and Chang-Díaz, who will conduct the three spacewalks scheduled for the mission, successfully checked out the spacesuits they will use during their scheduled spacewalks. During the first two spacewalks, the duo will help install a new aluminum platform, the Mobile Remote Servicer Base System or MBS, atop the station’s railcar, the Mobile Transporter. Once installed, the MBS will allow the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to travel along the station railway, moving up and down an eventual 300-foot truss for maintenance and assembly work.
Cockrell and Lockhart fired Endeavour’s jets three times today to adjust the speed at which the shuttle is closing in on the station. A final Terminal Phase Initiation burn will be conducted Friday morning to begin the final phase of the rendezvous.
The Expedition Four crewmembers – Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Carl Walz and Dan Bursch – tidied up their orbital home and completed routine maintenance on the eve of the arrival of the STS-111 crew.
Cockrell and Chang-Díaz took time out today to participate in a live conversation with Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco, U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica John Danilovich and reporters from Univision and Telemundo. Costa Rican-born Chang-Díaz tied the human spaceflight record yesterday when he launched on his seventh mission.
The next STS-111 mission status report will be issued Friday morning or earlier if events warrant.
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