As Atlantis continues its pursuit of the International Space Station with docking planned at 10:24 a.m. Wednesday, crewmembers began a day of preparation for the linkup with the orbiting laboratory.
Aboard Atlantis, Commander Jeff Ashby, Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialists Dave Wolf, Sandy Magnus, Piers Sellers and Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin were awakened at 4:46 a.m. to the song "Venus and Mars" by Paul McCartney and Wings. It was for Wolf, requested by his wife, Tammy.
The Expedition Five crew, Commander Valery Korzun, NASA ISS Science Officer Peggy Whitson and Cosmonaut Sergei Treschev – in their 18th week in space – were awakened at 3 a.m. Atlantis' crew will be their first visitors since June. They are shifting their sleep schedules to prepare for the week of docked operations with Atlantis.
Today, Atlantis' crew focuses on preparations for rendezvous and docking by checking out the necessary tools. The crew also will prepare the spacesuits to be used during the three planned spacewalks by Wolf and Sellers scheduled for Thursday, Saturday and Monday. The shuttle's robotic arm also will be checked out and used to survey the payload bay, including the Starboard 1 (S1) Truss.
This afternoon the centerline camera will be mounted in the Orbiter Docking System hatch to assist Ashby as he guides the orbiter in for docking. The crew then will extend the docking ring, which makes first contact with the station.
The station crew is continuing with science operations and standard exercise activities. Whitson is working with radiation monitors for Wolf and Sellers, who will conduct the spacewalks to hook up the S1 after it is lifted from Atlantis' cargo bay and installed on the station Thursday. She will activate the monitor's badge readers and do pre-spacewalk background readings.
Atlantis' crew is scheduled to begin an eight-hour sleep period at about 6:30 p.m. today.
The next STS-112 mission status report will be issued at 5 p.m. today, or earlier if events warrant.
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