While the crew of the International Space Station continued to set up the new Destiny Lab, the astronauts aboard Atlantis gave the station another boost, prepared for a third spacewalk, performed some inspections of the exterior and had a well-deserved break from what has been a busy, productive pace.
While the Space Shuttle crew had about a half-day break, the station crew – Commander Bill Shepherd, Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev and Pilot Yuri Gidzenko – continued their work powering up and checking out laboratory systems. All of the lab’s systems are working well, except for one supplementary carbon dioxide removal system in which a pump failed to operate when first powered on. Station flight controllers quickly asked the crew to power off the system and are continuing to troubleshoot the problem. There is no urgency in activating the lab’s supplemental carbon dioxide removal system – a similar Russian system in the station’s Zvezda module is working well as has been the case throughout the station crew’s stay.
Also today, ground controllers for the first time switched control of the station’s orientation to electrically powered gyroscopes rather than fuel-consuming thrusters. Use of the Control Moment Gyroscopes, which are functioning perfectly, is a milestone in station assembly that will conserve precious propellants aboard the complex. The gyroscopes were installed on the station during a shuttle flight in September 2000, but could not be used for control of the station until key navigation electronics were delivered inside Destiny.
During the day, Shuttle Commander Ken Cockrell once again set Atlantis’ thrusters to fire gradually in two extended sessions to increase the station’s altitude, the second and third sets of such maneuvers during the mission thus far. The reboosts raised the station and shuttle by another almost six statute miles today, to an orbit with an average altitude of 230 statute miles. One more such reboost is planned before Atlantis departs, leaving the station 16 statute miles higher than when the shuttle docked.
Later in the day, Cockrell, assisted by astronaut Marsha Ivins, powered up Atlantis’ robotic arm to use its cameras to view areas of what appeared to be bubbling paint on one station cooling radiator. Engineers are evaluating what may have caused the condition, but there is no significant concern and all station radiators are continuing to function normally as they have since they were attached last year. At the end of the day, the entire Atlantis crew reviewed plans for tomorrow’s third and final spacewalk scheduled for astronauts Tom Jones and Bob Curbeam.
Jones and Curbeam will exit Atlantis’ cabin at about 9:18 a.m. Central to begin five hours of work outside the shuttle and station. They will stow a spare communications antenna on the station’s exterior; double-check some connections between Destiny and its attached docking port; release winches that had held a station radiator in place; give the nine-story station a quick top-to-bottom inspection and evaluate the ability of a spacewalker to carry an incapacitated crew member.
The shuttle and station crew will go to sleep at 8:13 p.m. Central. The shuttle crew will awaken at 4:13 a.m. Wednesday and the station crew will awaken a half-hour later. The Johnson Space Center newsroom will close at 9 p.m. and reopen at 4 a.m. Tuesday. The next Mission Control Center Status Report will be issued at 5 a.m. Tuesday.
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