The crews of Endeavour and the International Space Station will spend a final night together tonight, preparing for Endeavour's departure from the complex Saturday.
Endeavour will leave the station with a new crew and almost three tons of new food, supplies, experiments and equipment. Endeavour will bring home the offgoing Expedition Three station crew -- Commander Frank Culbertson, Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin -- and more than two tons of unneeded station gear, food containers, clothes, and other cargo. The station's Expedition Four crew -- Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz -- will remain aboard the outpost until May 2002.
Endeavour Pilot Mark Kelly used the shuttle's robotic arm to detach the Raffaello logistics carrier from the station today and reberth it in Endeavour's payload bay. Raffaello was latched back into the shuttle bay at 4:44 p.m. CST. This morning, Dezhurov and Onufrienko worked together to replace a faulty air conditioner compressor in the station's Zvezda living quarters module as the crews completed cargo transfer activities.
Flight controllers are planning slight changes to Endeavour's departure from the station Saturday, allowing time for a small jet firing by the shuttle to boost the station's future path away from a piece of space debris that could pass near the complex on Sunday. Mission Control was notified early today that a spent Russian rocket upper stage launched in the 1970s could pass within three miles of the station if Endeavour did not perform the engine firing. With the shuttle reboost now planned on Friday, the station is predicted to instead pass more than 40 miles away from the debris on Sunday.
The new plan for Saturday's activities will have the station and shuttle crews bid farewell to one another and close hatches between the two spacecraft at about 7:30 a.m. CST. Endeavour will pulse its steering jets gradually for about 30 minutes beginning at about 8:55 a.m. CST to raise the station's altitude by almost three-quarters of a mile. Endeavour will then undock from the station at about 10:37 a.m. CST. Because of the changes, Endeavour will not perform a full-circle flyaround of the station after undocking. Instead, Endeavour will undock from the station and fly only a quarter circle of the complex, to a point about 400 feet directly above the station where it will fire its engines at about 11:20 a.m. CST to depart the vicinity of the oribting outpost.
Endeavour's crew will begin a sleep period today at 8:19 p.m. CST and awaken at 4:17 a.m. CST Saturday. The next Mission Control Status report will be issued at about 5 a.m. CST Saturday or as events warrant.
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