The two crews on board the International Space Station today completed checkout and activation of the new Quest airlock and conducted a dry run of the steps they will take before christening the newest station component.
STS-104 Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Charlie Hobaugh and Mission Specialists Mike Gernhardt, Janet Kavandi and Jim Reilly also got together with Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Susan Helms and Jim Voss inside Quest to answer questions from reporters in the U.S. and Russia.
Voss reported tracking down and sealing a minor leak discovered during an overnight pressure check. Air had found a path from the Equipment Lock segment of the new airlock to its Crew Lock, which is the segment the orbital construction workers will open to the vacuum of space when they step outside about 11:09 p.m. CDT Friday.
Flight Directors Paul Hill and Mark Kirasich talked with the crew about 1 a.m. Friday, going over the final details and sending up the good news that both the shuttle and station flight control teams agree all systems are “go” for the first station-based excursion out of the airlock. Lindsey sent down a video tour of the fully outfitted Quest module about 4:50 a.m.
The entire crew then reviewed the plan for Friday’s five-hour space walk by Gernhardt and Reilly. On their third foray outside this mission, the pair will attach the final nitrogen gas tank to the airlock and climb to the top of the station’s solar array truss to check on a swivel joint that allows the arrays to track the sun. If time allows, they’ll also take a look a the nearby Floating Potential Probe that measures the plasma created as the arrays drag through the rarified atomic oxygen at 240 miles up.
Meanwhile, Usachev performed some periodic maintenance duties on the station’s Russian systems, and helped Voss and Helms prepare for their work with the Candarm2 robotic arms operations related to Friday evening’s space walk.
After some time off to rest up after a very busy week, the crews were scheduled to turn in at 8 a.m. Their alarm clock is scheduled to go off at 4:04 p.m.
The next mission status report will be issued about 6 p.m. Friday or as events warrant.
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