STS-88 Commander Bob Cabana and his crew received their first wake up call from Mission Control this afternoon at 3:36 p.m. CST to begin their first full day of on orbit activities. The crew were awakened with the song "Get Ready" by the Temptations, an appropriate description of the full slate of activities the crew will be involved with as they get ready for the important events of the flight by checking out the equipment and tools that will be utilized during rendezvous, docking and space walking activities.
A series of precise maneuvering burns in the early portion of the flight will help Endeavour continue its pursuit of the Zarya control module. The orbital chase between the two spacecraft is scheduled to conclude on Sunday afternoon when Cabana maneuvers the Shuttle into close proximity with the first piece of the International Space Station and Currie uses the Shuttle’s mechanical arm to grapple Zarya and dock it to the Unity connection module which will already be mated to the orbiter’s docking mechanism.
Events onboard Endeavour during the first half of today’s activities have included the two EVA crewmembers – Mission Specialists Jerry Ross and Jim Newman – performing a checkout of the SAFER or Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue unit. SAFER is a mini maneuvering system that can provide self-rescue capability for a spacewalker if they inadvertently become separated from the spacecraft during a spacewalk. Also this afternoon, the crew downlinked video taken inside the crew cabin during their ascent to orbit.
Later today Ross and Newman will setup the Orbiter Space Vision System equipment which provides the mechanical arm operator precise data on the position and alignment of hardware located in the area of the payload bay.
Also in preparation for the three planned spacewalks, the cabin pressure inside Endeavour will be lowered from its normal 14.7 psi setting down to 10.2. The lower cabin pressure will shorten the amount of time Newman and Ross have to breath pure oxygen to prevent nitrogen bubbles from forming in their blood stream, a condition commonly referred to as "the bends" while they operate in the 4 psi environment of their spacesuits.
Other activities later today will have Newman and Ross doing verification checks of the EVA suits they will use during their space walks as well as preparing the airlock area that they will use to transition into Endeavour’s payload bay.
Currie will power up the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) mechanical arm to make sure it is ready to support Unity module unstow and installation activities on Saturday afternoon. She will also use the RMS arm to perform a photo survey of the payload bay.
There are no issues being worked by either the crew or the flight control team allowing all attention to remain focused on the mission objectives of this first ISS assembly flight.
The STS-88 crew will finish their first full day of work early tomorrow morning and will begin a sleep rest period at 5:36 a.m. Saturday morning with their next wake up call coming eight hours later at 1:36 p.m. tomorrow.
The next STS-88 status report will be issued around 8 a.m. on Saturday.
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