While Discovery’s astronauts looked on, the Expedition Two crew ceremoniously handed command of the International Space Station to its Expedition Three replacements. The ceremony occurred just prior to closing the hatches between the two spacecraft in preparation for the final planned space walk of the STS-105 mission.
Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms continued handover briefings with the Expedition Three crew while stowage of equipment, discarded items and belongings of the Expedition Two crew continued aboard the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module for return to Earth.
The new station Commander, Frank Culbertson, and Russian cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin, officially took command of the station Monday afternoon to begin a four month stay on the ISS. The Expedition Two crewmembers, which spent more than five months on the station, will return home aboard Discovery next week.
In preparation for the space walk set to begin about 9 a.m. Saturday, Dan Barry and Pat Forrester reviewed procedures and checked hardware that will be used during the excursion outside the station to hook up heater cables for a truss structure to be delivered to the station next year.
Shuttle Commander Scott Horowitz and Pilot Rick Sturckow performed the mission’s second reboost of the station early in the day, raising the average altitude of the ISS by 2.2 statute miles (3.5 kilometers). Discovery’s thrusters were systematically fired 253 times over the course of an hour. It was the final reboost planned prior to Discovery’s departure Monday morning.
The crew heads to bed about 9 tonight, Central time and will be awakened by Mission Control at 4:10 a.m. CDT Saturday.
Discovery and the station are orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes at an average altitude of 247 statute miles with all systems functioning well. The next status report will be issued about 6 a.m. Saturday, or earlier, if events warrant.
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