Docking day for the crew of Endeavour began at 7:06 a.m. CST with the Shuttle about 700 miles away from the first linkup of a Shuttle and an inhabited International Space Station. The crew was awakened to the song, "I Believe I Can Fly," by R. Kelly.
Commander Brent Jett and Pilot Mike Bloomfield will begin the final stage of rendezvous activities about 8:30 a.m., when they start setting up the aft flight deck controls. Endeavour will approach the station from below to line up with the Earth-facing docking port of the Unity module and avoid disturbing the station and its solar arrays with thruster jet debris. A maneuvering jet firing is scheduled for 10 a.m., with the Shuttle's rendezvous radar system beginning to provide supplemental navigation information about 10:50 a.m. The final burn, called the terminal initiation or Ti burn, will occur at 11:33 a.m.
On the International Space Station, Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev, will monitor Endeavour's approach and docking, communicating with the shuttle using air-to-air radio signals.
When Endeavour is about 2,000 feet away, almost directly below and behind the International Space Station, Jett will take manual control of the approach, and with the help of crew members operating computer tracking programs and hand-held laser distance measuring devices, guide the Shuttle to a point about 500 feet below the station. At this point, he will rotate Endeavour 180 degrees into a "tail forward" attitude for the final approach and docking. Jett will pause Endeavour's approach at a distance of 30 feet before moving in for docking just before 2 p.m. CST.
Solar arrays on the Zarya and Zvezda modules will be repositioned by flight controllers in Moscow to minimize structural loads as the two spacecraft come together at the newly installed Unity docking port called Pressurized Mating Adapter-3. Both the station and Endeavour will turn off their attitude control systems and drift freely as the Shuttle docking system pulls the two space vehicles together and forms a rigid bond, or "hard dock." Then, the solar arrays will begin tracking the sun again and Endeavour's steering jets will take over attitude control of the station.
About 3 p.m. today, Mission Specialist Mark Garneau will use the Shuttle's robot arm to lift the P-6 solar array out of its payload bay moorings and park it above the bay so that its temperature can begin equalizing with that of the station. Meanwhile, Mission Specialists Joe Tanner and Carlos Noriega will open the hatches and enter the Unity module's docking vestibule, where they will install electrical grounding straps and leave supplies for the station crew to retrieve later.
The Expedition 1 crew will go to bed about 3:30 p.m., and the Endeavour crew will follow suit at 11:36 p.m.
The next mission status report will be issued at 8 p.m. today or sooner if events warrant.
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