Having almost completed unpacking three tons of supplies brought from Earth aboard Endeavour and the Raffaello cargo module, the station and shuttle crews today turned their focus to packing up the cargo carrier and shuttle for the trip home.
When the day began, the crews had already completed unloading more than 4,600 pounds of food, clothes, supplies and equipment from Raffaello, about 95 percent of the module's total cargo. They also had completed moving the 1,000 pounds of station gear and experiments that were launched in Endeavour's cabin to the orbiting complex.
In repacking the cargo module and Endeavour with unneeded equipment bound for Earth, the crews have loaded more than 1,800 pounds of material into Raffaello, almost half the amount expected by the time the packing is completed. Packing of Raffaello and Endeavour will continue on Thursday. On Friday, Raffaello will be detached from the station and moved back into Endeavour's payload bay for the trip home.
In addition, Endeavour’s crew – Commander Dom Gorie, Pilot Mark Kelly, Mission Specialists Linda Godwin and Dan Tani, and offgoing station crew members Commander Frank Culbertson, Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin – assisted the new station Expedition Four crew in replacing most components of a station treadmill today. Expedition Four – Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz – will use the new treadmill almost daily during their five and a half months aboard the station. The job went smoothly and the crews finished several hours ahead of schedule, loading the old treadmill parts into Raffaello to be refurbished on Earth and, eventually, reused. A third and final scheduled reboost of the station by Endeavour also was completed today. The three boosts performed during the mission, each accomplished by a gradual, hour-long periodic firing of the shuttle steering jets, have raised the station's altitude by a total of almost 9 statute miles. The station's average altitude is now about 241 statute miles.
On Thursday, the crews will continue maintenance work as well as packing, replacing a faulty compressor in a Russian air conditioner on the station. Although the new crew officially took over aboard the station on Saturday, a formal handover ceremony also is planned for the two station crews at 2:04 p.m. CST Thursday. The crews begin a sleep period at 10:19 p.m. CST today and awaken at 6:19 a.m. CST Thursday. The next STS-108 mission status report will be issued about 7 a.m. CST Thursday or as events warrant.
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