“It’s kind of like Christmas up here going through these bags.” With that comment, International Space Station Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd indicated his happiness about the equipment, supplies and care packages today that were dropped by Endeavour’s astronauts following Saturday’s shuttle docking with the station.
Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev entered the Unity module for the first time since their arrival aboard the station 33 days ago at 3:38 a.m. CST Sunday, and retrieved items that were left in the docking compartment by Endeavour’s crew after their 2 p.m. Saturday docking. The items included a new laptop computer and headsets for the station’s two-way videoteleconferencing system, a new hard drive for a Russian laptop, large bags full of water, packaged Russian and fresh American food items -- plus a special care package.
Shepherd voiced special pleasure at receiving some fresh coffee and a large pair of vice grip pliers. He announced that the Expedition 1 crew would be taking a coffee break as soon as it completed the transfer of the items into the Russian living quarters and resealing the hatch into the Unity module, and added that the new pliers should come in handy for assembly and maintenance work.
Although the Expedition 1 crew came within one hatch of its colleagues – Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Mike Bloomfield and Mission Specialists Marc Garneau, Carlos Noriega and Joe Tanner -- the two crews will not greet each other face-to-face until Friday morning following completion of three planned space walks to install and activate the new 17-ton solar array tower.
The first space walk by Tanner and Noriega is scheduled to begin about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, but could start 45 minutes earlier if they complete preparations ahead of schedule. Using the shuttle’s robot arm, Garneau is scheduled to move the new solar array into position above the Z1 truss structure of the Unity module about 10:21 a.m. CST, and drive it home to its installation point about 1:06 p.m. Tanner and Noriega will secure bolts on each of the four corners of the array assembly before Garneau releases the arm’s grip. Bloomfield will take over arm operations and maneuver Noriega around the array so he can connect nine power, command and data cables. At the same time, Tanner will release the two Solar Array Blanket Boxes, and then he and Noriega will release the two Solar Array Wing launch restraints. The two space walkers will put the blanket boxes into the ready to deploy position, and free the folding mast before cleaning up and moving back into the shuttle about 7:16 p.m. CST. Jett will send the command to deploy the ISS Solar Arrays at 5:11 p.m. CST. The Solar Array Photovoltaic Radiator is scheduled for its deployment a little over 3 hours later at 8:36 p.m.
With the International Space Station complex orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 235 statute miles in fine fashion, the Endeavour crew received a wake-up call at 7:36 a.m. CST. The Expedition 1 crew goes to bed at 3:36 p.m. The next STS-97 status report will be issued Sunday evening.
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