The International Space Station got another boost overnight, as STS-106 Commander Terry Wilcutt and Pilot Scott Altman executed another hour-long series of thruster firings designed to raise the station’s orbit by several more miles.
Thirty-six pulses of Atlantis’ reaction control system thrusters boosted the station another 3 ½ miles (5.6 km). The third reboost of the mission placed the ISS in a 237 by 229 statute mile orbit (381 x 368 km). One more reboost maneuver is scheduled Sunday before the shuttle undocks from the station.
Mission Specialists Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko spent much of their day installing power converters in the Zvezda module. These will allow current from U.S. solar arrays to be used in the Russian modules. The first set of these large arrays is scheduled to be installed on the station in early December.
The crew took a closer look at the connections on one of Zvezda’s eight batteries that is not working properly. Mission managers have elected to disconnect cables from the battery and do no further work since seven of the eight batteries are working fine. As few as five can supply enough electrical capability when a crew is stationed on the ISS.
Lu and Malenchenko also installed components of the Elektron system in Zvezda. That equipment, sent into orbit aboard the Progress, separates water into oxygen and hydrogen and will be used to replenish the air in the station. The system will be activated after arrival of the first station crew.
Mission Specialists Rick Mastracchio, Dan Burbank and Boris Morukov concentrated their efforts on transferring, organizing and stowing equipment and supplies from Atlantis to the station. The 1,300 pounds of gear aboard the Progress cargo spacecraft that is docked to the aft end of the Zvezda module already has been unloaded, and that vehicle is now being utilized as a trash container that eventually will be remotely undocked to burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere.
So far, 3,700 pounds of hardware and supplies has been moved into the ISS, including six, 100 pound bags of water, all the food for the first resident crew, office supplies, onboard environmental supplies, a vacuum cleaner and a computer and monitor.
Atlantis’ astronauts will go to bed mid-morning today and will be awakened from Mission Control at 6:46 this evening. Their next workday will focus on the assembly of the station’s treadmill exercise equipment.
The next STS-106 status report will be issued at 7 p.m. today or sooner if events warrant.
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