The crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis spent its first full day in space closing in on the International Space Station and testing the space suits and other equipment that will be used later in the mission to install a new station airlock.
Commander Steve Lindsey and Pilot Charlie Hobaugh fired Atlantis' steering jets periodically during the night to adjust the shuttle's course toward the station. Atlantis now is trailing the International Space Station by about 1,800 statute miles, closing the gap by 230 miles with each orbit of Earth, on track to dock with the complex at about 9:53 p.m. Central. Astronauts Mike Gernhardt and Jim Reilly powered up and tested the two space suits they will wear during the three space walks planned to install the Airlock Quest on the station after Atlantis arrives. Assisted by Hobaugh, they also checked a third, spare suit that will be left aboard the station.
During the suit checks, the crew noted a white substance in the vicinity of the spare space suit's battery. Mission Control instructed the crew to take several standard precautionary measures, such as donning rubber gloves and turning off several ventilation fans, as they cleaned the substance off of the suit, swapped the suspect battery with a fresh one and changed the carbon dioxide removal cartridge. The old battery was then stowed away, sealed in leak-proof bags. The substance did no damage to the space suit and it remains in excellent operating condition.
Mission Specialist Janet Kavandi powered up Atlantis' robotic arm, successfully checking its operation and surveying the Quest airlock in the shuttle cargo bay using television cameras on the arm. The shuttle's robotic arm will be used to maneuver the space walkers during their planned work outside Atlantis and the station. The crew also powered up the shuttle's docking mechanism, preparing it for the linkup tonight.
Atlantis is in an orbit with a high point of 235 miles and a low point of 182 miles, circling Earth every 90 minutes. All of the shuttle's systems are in excellent condition.
Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition Two crew Commander Yury Usachev, and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms reviewed the schedule for Atlantis' arrival later tonight. The shuttle and station crews will go to sleep at about 8:04 a.m. The shuttle crew will awaken at 3:04 p.m. and the station crew at 4:04 p.m. to begin the rendezvous and docking activities.
The next mission status report will be issued about 6 p.m. today.
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