The Atlantis and Mir crews have begun their final day of joint operations, with the hatches between the two spacecraft slated to closed about 5 p.m. central time today.
Final transfer activities will take center stage as the astronauts and cosmonauts move the final items between their spacecraft. Amidst the transfer work, Mike Foale and Dave Wolf will conduct their final handover meeting as Wolf settles into his work routine aboard Mir.
The Mir 24 crew will be working with Russian Mission Control today as the station’s gyrodynes, which provide automated attitude control for Mir, are spun back up following yesterday’s installation of a new main motion control computer. Final checks of the computer and its software are scheduled during communications passes with Russian ground stations.
Both crews will take a break from their busy schedules today to talk with media assembled in the United States, Russia and France in a news conference scheduled for 2:04 p.m. central time. At the conclusion of the press conference, the two crews which have worked side by side since last Saturday, will conduct an informal farewell ceremony as their joint operations come to an end.
Following final transfer activity and an inventory review, the astronauts and cosmonauts will have an opportunity for private farewells before the two commanders – Jim Wetherbee and Anatoly Solovyev – swing the hatches of their spacecraft closed. Atlantis will remain docked to the Mir during the crew’s sleep period, with undocking scheduled for 10:43 a.m. central time on Friday. Pilot Mike Bloomfield will be at Atlantis’ controls for the undocking and flyaround of the Mir space station.
The next STS-86 status report will be issued at 8 p.m. Central time.
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