Endeavour's crew and the crew of the International Space Station will say farewell today, ending an eight-day visit by the shuttle that saw delivery a new robotic arm and more than six tons of supplies and equipment to the complex, including two scientific experiment racks for the U.S. laboratory Destiny.
The crews are plan to close the hatches between the two spacecraft at 9:41 a.m.. Endeavour is scheduled to undock from the station at 12:34 p.m. With Pilot Jeff Ashby at the controls, the shuttle will back away to distance of about 450 feet to perform a three-quarters circle of the station which will include a special maneuver to allow filming by a payload bay-mounted IMAX camera. At 1:32 p.m., Ashby will fire Endeavour's jets to separate the vicinity of the station and put Endeavour on course for a 7:59 a.m. CDT Tuesday landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Aboard the station, all three command and control computers - one primary and two backups -- are on line and operating well. One, the primary computer, has full capabilities. Of the two backups, one is functioning but has a failed hard drive. The third is working but flight controllers are still bringing up its hard drive.
After Endeavour undocks today, the station crew will have the afternoon off duty. A Russian Aviation and Space Agency Soyuz spacecraft with a crew of three - Commander Talgat Musabaev, Flight Engineer Yuri Baturin and American businessman Dennis Tito -- is planned to dock with the station at 2:52 a.m. Monday. The Soyuz, which will replace the Soyuz now docked to the station as a space "lifeboat" for the complex, is trailing the complex by about 6,000 statute miles.
Endeavour's crew was awakened this morning by the song "Miles from Nowhere," performed by Cat Stevens and played for Ashby in anticipation of today's undocking. A crew news conference for Endeavour's crew is tentatively planned for Monday morning.
The next mission status report will be issued Sunday evening or when events warrant.
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