As the final steps in the orbital ballet of rendezvous are taken, Space Shuttle Endeavour closes the remaining distance to the Russian Mir space station. At 6 a.m. Saturday, the two were approximately 170 nautical miles apart and closing the distance at 55 nautical miles each 90-minute orbit.
The crew is scheduled to awaken at 7:48 a.m. this morning for an eventful flight day 3. Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the Mir at 2:14 p.m. Central time today. Prior to that, at about 1: 10 p.m. the orbiter will reach a point about 70 feet below Mir along the station’s radial vector with the Earth or R-bar. At 1:40, commander Terry Wilcutt begins his final approach to Mir, stopping 30 feet out at 2 p.m. to await a final "go" for the docking. After about eight minutes of station-keeping at 30-feet, Endeavour closes the final distance and docks. This will be the eighth meeting between the Shuttle and Mir, and the first by Endeavour. All previous docking missions were accomplished with the Shuttle Atlantis.
The hatch opening and welcome ceremony is planned for 3:53 p.m. CST. Transfer operations to move supplies, equipment and water to Mir begin in Sunday, The official handover between astronaut David Wolf and his replacement on Mir, Andy Thomas, comes at about 8:48 a.m. CST Sunday with the transfer of the custom-made seat liners for each astronaut.
On Friday, the Endeavour crew began preparations for the docking by checking out docking aids such as the centerline camera.
The next STS-89 status report will be issued at 6 p.m. Central time Saturday.
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