Heading for a docking to the International Space Station later today, Endeavour’s astronauts continue to close in on the orbital outpost as a new trio of residents prepares to take over command of the complex.
Commander Ken Cockrell, Pilot Paul Lockhart and Mission Specialists Philippe Perrin and Franklin Chang-Díaz, and Expedition Five Commander Valery Korzun and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Sergei Treschev, were awakened just after 4:30 Central time this morning by “American Woman,” by Lenny Kravitz, a song selected for Whitson.
At the time of the crew’s wakeup call, Endeavour had closed to within 900 statute miles of the ISS, aiming for a linkup to the docking port at the forward end of the Destiny Laboratory at 11:17 a.m. Central time as the two vehicles fly off the northeast coast of Australia, south of New Guinea. On board the station, the Expedition Four crew, Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Carl Walz and Dan Bursch, are spending the morning preparing for the arrival of Endeavour’s astronauts and their Expedition Five replacements. Onufrienko, Walz and Bursch are in their 184th day in space, their 182nd day aboard the ISS.
A little less than two hours after Endeavour docks to the station, the hatches between the two spacecraft will open and Onufrienko, Bursch and Walz will greet their counterparts and conduct a safety briefing. Then, the ten astronauts and cosmonauts will begin transferring equipment, supplies and experiments between the two vehicles. The two Expedition crews will exchange their custom-made Soyuz return craft seat liners for the rescue vehicle currently docked to the station. Once the new Expedition Five crew conducts checks of their Russian entry suits, they will officially take over command of station operations, and Onufrienko, Walz and Bursch will become shuttle crewmembers.
All systems aboard Endeavour and the ISS continue to function in excellent shape.
The next STS-111 mission status report will be issued early Friday evening, or earlier, if events warrant.
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