The seven member STS-106 crew was awakened just before 7 p.m. CDT to begin its fourth day of orbital activities and its first full day of docked operations with the International Space Station. The main focus of today’s efforts will be a 6 ½ hour spacewalk conducted by Mission Specialists Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko.
Today’s wake up call was “All Star” by the band Smash Mouth. The song was played for the two space walkers at the request of the EVA training and flight control teams to celebrate what will be the sixth space walk in support of station assembly and the 50th space walk in Space Shuttle history. After completing a final pre-breathing session of pure oxygen to purge nitrogen from their blood stream and putting on their EVA spacesuits, Lu and Malenchenko will exit Atlantis’ airlock just after midnight Central.
Lu who carries the designation EV 1, will be making his first space walk and will wear the space suit marked by red stripes. Malenchenko, who conducted two space walks totaling 12 hours during his 1994 flight aboard the Russian Mir Space Station, is designated EV 2 and will wear the pure white suit.
The main objective of the space walk will be to attach a 6-foot long magnetometer and boom to a port on the Russian Zvezda Service Module. The magnetometer will serve as a type of navigation tool, or compass, using data acquired from the Earth's magnetic field to "tell" Zvezda's computers how it is oriented in relation to the Earth. The information provided by the magnetometer will minimize the amount of propellent Zvezda‘s thrusters use to maintain the position of the International Space Station.
STS-106 Mission Specialists Rick Mastracchio and Dan Burbank will also play key support roles in the spacewalk activities. Mastracchio will operate the Shuttle's robot arm to move the two spacewalkers as far as the arm will take them, about 50 feet above Atlantis' cargo bay. Lu and Malenchenko then will use tethers and handrails along the ISS' modules to make their way to a point more than 100 feet above the cargo bay for the magnetometer installation, the farthest any tethered space walker has ventured outside a Shuttle. Burbank, the IV crewmember, will serve as “space walk choreographer ” guiding Lu and Malenchenko’s through their various activities.
Once the magnetometer hook up is complete, electrical, data and television cables between the Zvezda Service Module and the Zarya Control Module will be connected. In all, nine cables will be rigged between the two spacecraft in a procedure expected to last almost three hours.
Four of the cables are critical power connections required before the end of the future STS-97 mission to the ISS which will deliver the U.S. solar arrays. These cables will enable power to flow from the U.S. arrays to the Russian modules to augment the solar arrays on both Zarya and Zvezda since the U.S. Arrays will shade portions of the Russian arrays once they are installed on the top of the Z-1 truss framework.
Two of the cables installed by Lu and Malenchenko will provide an internal closed circuit video feed and two other cables will link data from Zvezda to Zarya and allow commanding of Zarya solar array pointing from Zvezda now that the Zarya's motion control system has been deactivated.
A final fiber optic cable will be strung between Zvezda and Zarya to enable data to flow from the suits worn by Russian space walkers once the ISS airlock is installed at the starboard port of the Unity connecting node to accommodate joint U.S.-Russian space walks. Until then, ISS space walks must be conducted from Zvezda's transfer compartment.
The STS-106 crew will wind up the day’s efforts early Monday morning before turning in for an eight-hour sleep period beginning at 10:46 a.m. CDT. After they wake up Monday evening, the will enter the station Monday evening by opening 12 hatches in preparation for delivering supplies for use by the first resident crew who will arrive at the station in late October.
The next mission status report will be issued about 7 a.m. on Monday morning or sooner if events warrant.
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