Transfer and hand-over activities continued today onboard the docked Atlantis-Mir complex, with more than three-quarters of all items to be brought across having been transferred. Among the items moved so far are the old Elektron oxygen-generating unit and the Beetle experiment from Mir to Atlantis, biomedical experiment equipment and samples from Atlantis to Mir and two more bags of water, totaling almost 1200 pounds of water already transferred out of 1400 lbs. planned.
Astronaut Michael Foale spent about five hours briefing his replacement, astronaut David Wolf, acquainting Wolf with his new orbital home. Wolf’s science experiments were moved to the Priroda module for his use over the next four months.
Also during the day Tuesday, mission specialists Vladimir Titov and Scott Parazynski completed the checkout and preparation of all the tools they will use tomorrow during a planned five-hour spacewalk that will begin at 1:44 p.m. CDT. The primary task during the spacewalk will be the removal of four Mir Environmental Effects Packages which had been placed along the outside of the docking module last March by astronauts Linda Godwin and Rich Clifford. Parazynski and Titov also will carry out the Spektr Solar Array Cap which cosmonauts may use in a future spacewalk to bolt over any hole found in the hull of the damaged Spektr module. The cap will be attached to the outside of the docking module within reach of spacewalking cosmonauts.
Plans are nearing completion for the swap-out of the Mir’s motion control computer tomorrow for a new one brought into orbit by Atlantis. The current schedule calls for the old computer to be removed at about 1030 am CDT and replaced by the new computer. The swap-out should take about 90 minutes, after which new software will be loaded into the computer by Russian flight controllers. That process will take several more hours. Mir’s automatic attitude control devices, the gyrodynes, will be spun down early Wednesday afternoon to accommodate the change, and will not be spun up again until early Thursday morning to provide the Mir its own attitude control capability once again. In the meantime, Atlantis holds attitude control for the Mir, aligning its solar panels with the sun at all times to provide electrical production.
Earlier today, members of both crews were interviewed by CNN, PBS and Russian reporters at the Russian Mission Control Center, and provided a commemorative message from the Mir this morning for the 40th anniversary of the launching of the first satellite, Sputnik, by Russia on October 4th, 1957. The anniversary will be celebrated on Saturday.
Mir’s crew is scheduled to begin its nine-hour sleep period tonight at 8:30 p.m. CDT. Atlantis astronauts will go to bed about 10:30 and wake at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. EVA preparations Wednesday begin at 8:34 a.m. with the closing of hatches between Atlantis and Mir.
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