Another week of testing the International Space Station’s robotic arm and cataloging onboard inventory has been the focus for the Expedition Two crew as the launch of Atlantis delivering the Airlock approaches.
The checkout of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System – Canadarm2 – continued this week with testing the positions and sequences that will be used for the installation of high pressure oxygen and nitrogen tanks on the outside of the Airlock after it is installed on the Unity module of the station.
Working from the Robotics Work Station inside the Destiny Laboratory, Flight Engineers Susan Helms and Jim Voss maneuvered the arm on its redundant, or backup, string of software to essentially qualify the arm for its first operational task scheduled to commence after Atlantis arrives late next week.
Atlantis’ launch is scheduled for 4:04 a.m. Central time, July 12 with docking to the station late on the evening of July 13. Tucked in the shuttle’s payload bay is the 6.5 ton Airlock that will add space walk capability to the orbiting outpost.
While Atlantis is being readied for next week’s visit to the station, Discovery stands poised on the other shuttle launch pad ready to deliver the next resident crew to the station in August. Expedition Three will be commanded by veteran astronaut Frank Culbertson along with two Russian cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Turin.
Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev, Voss and Helms also continue to oversee a variety of science investigations. Oversight from the ground is handled by the Payload Operations Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, except for the Human Research Facility, which is monitored and controlled from the Telescience Support Center (TSC) at the Johnson Space Center, Houston. For details on ISS science, visit the following website:
The International Space Station (ISS) is orbiting in excellent shape at an altitude averaging 240 miles (385 km). Sighting opportunities from the ground for many cities around the world can be viewed at:
ISS information will be combined within the shuttle status reports beginning next Thursday. The next ISS status report will be issued on the first Wednesday following completion of the STS-104 mission.
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