Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 8:30 a.m. CDT
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-117 MCC Status Report #04
Space Shuttle Atlantis is only hours away from delivering a new set of solar array wings, and a new crew member, to the International Space Station. Docking of the shuttle to the station is targeted for 2:38 p.m. CDT.
The shuttle crew was awakened at 8:08 a.m. with “Riding the Sky,” written and performed by Johnson Space Center employees David Kelldorf and Brad Loveall for Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson. At the same time, a wakeup tone sounded on the station for Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Suni Williams. Rendezvous operations for the shuttle crew to bring their ship together with the station begin at 9:38 a.m., and the terminal initiation engine firing, which puts Atlantis on course to close the final nine miles to the station, is set for 12 p.m.
At 1:37 p.m., at a distance of 600 feet below the station, Atlantis Commander Rick Sturckow will fly the rendezvous pitch maneuver. The maneuver is a back flip that will allow Yurchikhin and Kotov to photograph heat shield tiles on the shuttle’s underside. The images will be transmitted to the ground for analysis.
After the hatches open, Kotov and Anderson will transfer Anderson’s customized Soyuz seat liner into the Russian spacecraft in place of that of Williams. The transfer will make Anderson an official station crew member, and Williams a member of the shuttle crew. Delivery of the flight's primary payload, the bus-sized S3/S4 truss element with its new solar arrays, will start at about the same time. Using the shuttle robotic arm, Pilot Lee Archambault and Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester will grapple the 35,678-pound truss section, lift it from the payload bay and hand it off to the station's robotic arm, controlled by Williams.
The truss section will be installed Monday in conjunction with the first spacewalk of the flight, conducted by Mission Specialists Jim Reilly and John “Danny” Olivas. Reilly and Olivas will spend tonight "camped out" inside the Quest airlock, with air pressure lowered to help purge nitrogen from their bodies in preparation for the excursion. The next STS-117 status report will be issued Sunday evening or earlier if events warrant.