As Endeavour closes in for its linkup to the International Space Station tomorrow, the Expedition Four crew aboard the complex will spend the day preparing for the arrival of its replacements.
Aboard Endeavour, Commander Ken Cockrell, Pilot Paul Lockhart, Mission Specialists Philippe Perrin and Franklin Chang-Díaz and Expedition Five Commander Valery Korzun and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Sergei Treschev, were awakened at 6:23 a.m. Central time by the song “Gettin' Jiggy Wit It,” by Will Smith. The song was played for Korzun, who will soon take command of the space station.
The Expedition Four crewmembers – Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Carl Walz and Dan Bursch – are in their 183rd day in space, their 181st day aboard the ISS. They will return to Earth aboard Endeavour after six months in orbit on June 17.
In preparation for docking Friday, Perrin and Chang-Díaz will set up a centerline camera to help Cockrell with views of the station’s docking mechanism during Endeavour’s final approach tomorrow and will test the orbiter docking system ring. Cockrell and Lockhart will fire the shuttle’s jets to raise the altitude of Endeavour and draw it closer to the station. The maneuvers will bring the shuttle about 46 statute miles behind the station by Friday morning.
Cockrell and Perrin will also activate the shuttle’s robotic arm and use its cameras to survey the contents of the payload bay, including the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics cargo module, the Mobile Base System and the replacement wrist roll joint for the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, as well as debris shields for the Zvezda Service Module. Chang-Díaz and Perrin will install these components during three spacewalks scheduled for the mission. Today, they will prepare their spacesuits for use out of the Quest Airlock on the station next week.
Later this morning, Cockrell and Chang-Díaz will participate in a live conversation with Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco and reporters from two Hispanic television networks. Costa Rican-born Chang-Díaz tied the human spaceflight record yesterday when he launched on his seventh mission. Astronaut Jerry Ross set the record in April during the STS-110 mission.
The next STS-111 mission status report will be issued Thursday evening or earlier, if events warrant.
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