With the distance between Atlantis and Mir growing ever shorter, crews aboard both vehicles are busy with preparations for this evening’s docking of the two vehicles.
STS-84 Commander Charlie Precourt and the rest of his crew – Pilot Eileen Collins, Mission Specialists Jean-Francois Clervoy, Carlos Noriega, Ed Lu, Elena Kondakova, and Mike Foale are busy with final preparations for tonight’s docking with the orbiting Russian facility.
The crew was awakened at 3:03 p.m. CDT this afternoon with the song "Hold On, I’m Coming," by Sam and Dave, done in honor of the pending exchange of U.S. astronaut Jerry Linenger aboard the Mir with STS-84 astronaut Mike Foale.
Docking remains scheduled for 9:34 p.m. CDT tonight. The terminal initiation burn that begins the final approach phase is scheduled for 6:53 p.m. CDT. Atlantis has been closing in on Mir at a rate of about 270 nautical miles every orbit and will be about 8 miles behind the station at the time of the terminal initiation burn.
Yesterday, the crew finished the checkout of navigation tools that will be used during the rendezvous, set up a camera in the Orbiter Docking System to provide television views of the Mir docking target for Precourt, and extended the outer ring of the Orbiter Docking System.
An on-time docking at 9:34 p.m. would place the two spacecraft at 42.5N, 15.3E traveling over the Adriatic Sea.. One orbit later, the hatches between the two spacecraft will be opened and the planned five days of docked operations will begin, including the crew exchange of Foale and Linenger and the transfer of over 7,000 pounds of water, experiments and logistical items between the two spacecraft.
The next MCC status report will be issued at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday.
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