Atlantis has closed the distance between it and the International Space Station to less than 1,800 statute miles, and is continuing its approach in anticipation of docking with the station at 11:06 a.m. central time today. The linkup should occur as the two spacecraft fly over south-central China, to the southwest of Shanghai. The Atlantis crew, Commander Mike Bloomfield, Pilot Steve Frick and mission specialists Rex Walheim, Ellen Ochoa, Lee Morin, Jerry Ross and Steve Smith, was awakened at 3:44 a.m. by “Rapunzel Got a Mohawk,” performed by Joe Scruggs. The song was played for Ochoa, at the request of her family.
On board the station, the Expedition 4 crew, Commander Yury Onufrienko and flight engineers Carl Walz and Dan Bursch, also awoke at 3:44 a.m. to an alarm-clock-like tone. They have synchronized their sleep schedule to match that of the Atlantis crew to prepare for docked operations.
About two hours after Atlantis docks to the station, the hatches between the two spacecraft will open and Onufrienko, Bursch and Walz will greet their first visitors since beginning their stay aboard the orbiting laboratory last December. After a welcome and safety briefing, all 10 astronauts and cosmonauts will begin transferring equipment and supplies between the two vehicles.
Both crews will jointly review plans for installation of the S-Zero (S0) Truss, including procedures for Thursday’s scheduled spacewalk, the first of four during this mission. Ochoa and Bursh will maneuver the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, through a rehearsal of the motions it will use Thursday to pluck the 44-foot, 27,000 pound truss segment from the shuttle’s cargo bay and install it atop the station’s U.S. laboratory Destiny.
Major systems aboard Atlantis and the space station continue to function well.
The next STS-110 mission status report will be issued Wednesday afternoon, or earlier if events warrant.
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