Endeavours astronauts spent much of Friday checking out equipment to be used for Saturdays docking with the International Space Station, subsequent assembly operations and three space walks. For much of the crew's day, their spacecraft was gaining on the space station at about 500 statute miles each 90-minute orbit of the Earth.
Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Mike Bloomfield and Mission Specialists Joe Tanner, Marc Garneau and Carlos Noriega checked out systems they will use to deliver the stations first set of U.S. solar arrays. They tested the power supply to the huge solar array structure. Tanner and Noriega also checked the spacesuits they will use during three space walks, on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Garneau and Bloomfield tested the shuttles robotic arm, performing a survey of the payload bay using cameras attached to the arm, and checked out the Space Vision System, a computerized visual system that helps the arm operator determine distance and relative orientation of space station elements during assembly activities.
Jett and Bloomfield fired Endeavour's orbital maneuvering systems twice Friday, at about 12:41 p.m. and 9:24 p.m., to bring the orbiter into the proper alignment with the space station and close the gap between the two spacecraft. Endeavour is about 2,515 miles from the space station and now closing at a rate of almost 400 miles every orbit.
No problems were reported aboard Endeavour as the shuttle sails toward a docking with the ISS at 1:59 p.m. Central time Saturday.
On the International Space Station, Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev, continued preparations for the arrival of Endeavour. Their unmanned Progress resupply vessel was undocked at 10:23 a.m. Central time Friday to clear a path for Endeavours arrival. The Progress will be left in a parking orbit well away from the ISS during Endeavours visit, allowing flight controllers in Moscow and Houston the option of redocking it to the station after Endeavour departs.
The Expedition One crew went to bed about 3:30 p.m. and will be awakened at midnight to continue preparations to welcome the Endeavour astronauts. The space station crew's wake-up call comes at the same time Endeavour's crew begins an abbreviated seven-hour sleep period. Endeavours astronauts will awaken shortly after 7 a.m. Central time Saturday to begin their rendezvous procedures.
The next mission status report will be issued at mid-morning Saturday or sooner if events warrant.
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