The crew of Atlantis took a spin around the International Space Station this morning after undocking on time at 11:54 p.m. CDT Saturday, some 240 miles above the coast of Newfoundland.
Pilot Charlie Hobaugh was at the shuttle’s aft flight deck controls for the fly-around, which allowed the shuttle crew to take a parting look at the newly installed airlock, Quest, and the four large air supply tanks they had delivered.
Commander Steve Lindsey, Hobaugh and Mission Specialists Janet Kavandi, Mike Gernhardt and Jim Reilly, had spent 196 hours, 46 minutes – or more than 8 days – docked to the station, working with Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms to install, checkout and christen the station’s newest asset.
A final separation burn at 1:14 a.m. CDT Sunday put Atlantis on its initial course for home, with landing scheduled for 11:37 p.m. CDT Monday at Kennedy Space Center.
The entire Atlantis crew took time out to discuss the mission with CNN and Fox News early Sunday, then got ready for bed about 7:30 a.m. The shuttle astronauts will awaken at 5:34 p.m. CDT Sunday and begin stowing gear and testing Atlantis’ systems that will be used during re-entry and landing.
Back on the station, the Expedition Two crew will go to bed about 1 p.m. Sunday, then enjoy a day of off-duty time following the busy shuttle stay and begin shifting back to its regular schedule. So far, the Expedition Two crew has spent 136 days in space. The trio will be replaced by Expedition Three Commander Frank Culbertson and Flight Engineers Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin next month during Discovery’s STS-105 mission.
All systems aboard both Atlantis and the International Space Station continue to function normally as the two spacecraft orbit the Earth independently once again.
The next mission status report will be issued about 6 p.m. Sunday or as events warrant.
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