Atlantis' astronauts went right to work today following an early morning wake up call from Mission Control, preparing to install the 16-ton Destiny Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS).
Less than two hours after being awakened to the bluegrass sounds of "Girl's Breakdown" by Alison Brown for robot arm operator Marsha Ivins, Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky conducted a series of small jet firings, raising the altitude of Atlantis and the ISS by about a mile after preliminary predictions indicated that a tiny fragment of defunct Russian space hardware might pass within 250 meters of the orbiting complex. The maneuver put the Atlantis and the ISS well away from the debris.
At the same time, with the help of Polansky, astronauts Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones began preparing for a six-hour space walk to help install and hookup Destiny to the Unity module of the ISS.
While Curbeam and Jones complete their spacewalk preparations, Ivins will use Atlantis' robot arm to move an unoccupied Station docking port from Unity to a temporary parking location on the Station's external truss assembly. That will clear the way for Destiny's installation at the same berthing port on Unity.
Curbeam and Jones are scheduled to begin today's space walk shortly after 9 a.m. Once outside, they will move to two different locations with Curbeam disconnecting umbilical cables holding Destiny in Atlantis' cargo bay, and removing protective launch covers from Destiny's berthing mechanism. Jones will climb more than 40 feet up the exterior of the ISS where he will act as a visual guide for Ivins as she slowly raises Destiny from Atlantis' payload bay. Ivins will ultimately rotate Destiny 180 degrees for its final installation. Once Destiny is attached early this afternoon, the crew will send a series of commands for the berthing systems on both Destiny and Unity to bolt together.
With Destiny securely in place, Curbeam and Jones will begin connecting electrical, data and cooling lines between Destiny and rest of the Station. After completing their work outside, Curbeam and Jones will return to Atlantis' airlock as Ivins and Cockrell begin to send commands from laptop computers on the aft flight deck to begin activating Destiny's power systems, and to provide cooling to the laboratory's internal avionics equipment. At the same time at the other side of the Atlantis/ISS hatches, Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev will begin preliminary outfitting of the vestibule between Unity and Destiny. Late today, hatches will reopen between the two craft while flight controllers in Houston continue critical activation tasks associated with Destiny's systems. The two crews are scheduled to enter Destiny for the first time Sunday morning to begin outfitting the new research facility.
The next mission status report will be issued about 7 p.m. Central time today, or as events warrant. Due to a problem with the automatic electronic mail distribution of this report, recent copies may not have been sent. To obtain copies of all Mission Control status reports for STS-98, check the internet at
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