Awakened to the sounds of the "Blue Danube Waltz" from the movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey", Atlantis' astronauts geared up for their first entry into the newly installed Destiny Laboratory of the International Space Station later this morning.
Commander Ken Cockrell, Pilot Mark Polansky, and Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam, Marsha Ivins and Tom Jones, and the Expedition One crew --- Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev, were allowed to sleep later than planned after having worked late Saturday night to activate Destiny's critical systems. At the time of the Atlantis astronauts' wakeup shortly after 5 a.m. Central time, Destiny's critical thermal control system was operating perfectly, having reduced temperatures inside the new research facility to a comfortable 75 degrees Farenheit.
Working side by side, the eight crewmembers plan to open the hatch between the Station's Unity module and Destiny for the first time at around 8:13 a.m. Central time, and will begin a day-long operation to outfit the newest addition to the expanding outpost. The initial interior lab work will include the activation of air conditioners, fire extinguishers, computers, internal communications systems, electrical outlets, ventilation systems, alarm systems and the installation of a rack designed to purify the air, augmenting the Russian Vozdukh system in the Zvezda living quarters, which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of the Station's modules.
Other racks used for tool and experiment stowage will also be installed. Because of weight considerations, Destiny was launched with only 5 of its 24 racks installed. Eight empty rack bays are equipped to provide almost 300 cubic feet of stowage. Destiny's first science rack, called the Human Research Facility, will be launched next month when the Expedition Two crew of Yury Usachev, Jim Voss and Susan Helms is ferried to orbit aboard Discovery to replace Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev.
The vital spinup of four large gyroscopes housed on the Z1 external truss structure by Destiny's computers is planned late Monday, following the second spacewalk by Jones and Curbeam. Those so-called Control Moment Gyros will be tested throughout the week to insure that Destiny can assume command and control of critical Station functions and Station orientation in the weeks ahead.
Later today, after Cockrell and Polansky raise the Station's altitude through the firing of Atlantis' jet thrusters, Jones and Curbeam will prepare tools and other gear which will be used in Monday's second spacewalk. That second excursion will involve the attachment of a Station docking adapter temporary parked on the Z1 truss to the forward end of Destiny to establish a new docking port for future Shuttle assembly flights. Jones and Curbeam will also attach a special electronic grapple fixture and video converter unit to the hull of Destiny in preparation for the deployment of the Station's first robotic arm in April.
Atlantis and the International Space Station are currently orbiting at an altitude of 228 statute miles with all systems functioning in excellent shape. Today's Mission Status Briefing will be seen on NASA Television at 3 p.m. Central time. The next mission status report will be issued around 7 p.m., or sooner, if events warrant.
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