The 10 astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station and the docked shuttle Endeavour are beginning a day that will see the first opening of hatches linking the two spacecraft. Highlights will include an impressive first step by the station’s new Canadarm2 and the berthing to the station of Raffaello, the Italian-built logistics module.
Hatch opening was set for 4 a.m. following a wakeup call from Mission Control earlier this morning. Judy Collins’ “Both Sides Now” for Pilot Jeff Ashby started the shuttle crews’ day.
After transfer of equipment and supplies, the hatches will be closed again a little after 2 p.m. so that the Shuttle cabin pressure can once again be lowered to prepare for Tuesday’s second spacewalk. That spacewalk will focus on permanently powering the station arm and doing further checkouts.
The 57.7-foot arm was installed and unfolded Sunday during a 7 hour, 10 minute spacewalk by Scott Parazynski and Chris Hadfield. They also installed a UHF antenna on the station’s U.S. laboratory Destiny. It was the 19th spacewalk devoted to ISS assembly and the 63rd in the history of the shuttle program.
After additional checkouts by Helms and Voss this morning, the arm will “walk” off the Spacelab Pallet on which it was launched. Its free end will be attached to a Power and Data Grapple Fixture on Destiny, becoming the arm’s base. That first step, beginning a little after 5 a.m., will cover just over 24 feet. Wednesday morning, the station arm will hand the pallet to the shuttle arm, to be berthed in Endeavour’s cargo bay for return to Earth.
Endeavour’s own 50-foot robotic arm, operated by Ashby, will grapple the Raffaello logistics module in the cargo bay and dock it to the Unity module. Its installation there should be complete about 10 a.m. today. Early Tuesday, the Expedition Two crew will begin transferring the food, supplies, equipment and two experiment racks for installation in Destiny from Raffaello to the station.
Both crews are scheduled to end their day about 6:30 p.m. today. Both spacecraft are in excellent shape orbiting Earth every 92 minutes at an altitude of 240 statute miles.
The next status report will be issued this afternoon, or as events warrant.
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