The crew of STS-101 was awakened just after 6 p.m. to Tom Petty's song "Free Fallin'," played for Mission Specialist Susan Helms. Once awake, Atlantis' seven-member crew began preparing for its first full day on orbit to ready the vehicle for tomorrow night's docking with the International Space Station and a space walk Sunday night.
Commander Jim Halsell, Pilot Scott Horowitz and Mission Specialists Mary Ellen Weber, Jeff Williams, Jim Voss, Susan Helms and Yury Usachev will spend much of the day checking out orbiter systems and space walking equipment, while continuing to slowly close in on the station through a series of calculated rendezvous maneuvers.
The crew will examine and prepare the tools required to support rendezvous and docking operations as well as perform checks of the extravehicular mobility units, or space suits, that will be used by Williams and Voss during the planned space walk Sunday night into Monday morning. Both suits are checked far enough ahead of the space walk to ensure good working condition in plenty of time to allow for any required troubleshooting work by the specialists on the ground.
Also tonight and into tomorrow, Halsell will assist Weber in testing Atlantis' mechanical arm, checking its operation while conducting a video survey of the payload bay. This procedure will make certain the arm is functioning properly to support the space walk
Atlantis is currently in a highly elliptical orbit of 199 x 98 statute miles. At about 7 o'clock this evening, Central time, the shuttle was a little over 2,700 s.m. behind the station, closing in at a rate of about 546 s.m. every 90 minutes.
The next STS-101 mission status report will be issued at 7 a.m. Central Saturday, or as events warrant.
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