Now that the outside work has been completed with the third spacewalk Monday, crewmembers aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station today turn their attention to the remaining inside work to be done prior to the shuttle's departure Wednesday from the ever growing orbital outpost.
The six shuttle crewmembers leave the complex tomorrow a bit heavier and more capable than it was prior to their arrival a week ago. The space station now has a mass in space of about 366,277 pounds (166,118 kilograms) and is 171 feet long, 240 feet wide and 90 feet high. The S1 (Starboard One) Truss added 15 tons (13,600 kilograms) to the station's mass.
After undocking tomorrow, scheduled for 8:13 a.m., the shuttle will perform at least a half lap fly around of the station for photo documentation before it fires thrusters to separate and bid the station farewell after a week's worth of joint operations.
Once back on their own, the Expedition Five voyagers - 131 days into their mission, 129 as station crewmembers - turn their attention to completing the unpacking of a Russian Progress supply vehicle, which arrived at the station in late September, and packing up belongings for their own return home scheduled for late November aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, which is bringing another station truss segment and the Expedition Six crew.
Between now and then, however, Expedition Five will receive more guests from Earth when a new Russian Soyuz spacecraft and crew arrive late this month following launch Oct. 28 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz serves as an emergency return vehicle and must be swapped about every six months.
The shuttle and station crews have a few hours of free time today - a welcome opportunity to visit with each other before tomorrow's undocking and departure of Atlantis. Work continues this afternoon with the transfer of the final powered payload to be moved from the shuttle to the ISS. In addition to the S1 Truss, Atlantis brought up about a ton of supplies for the station. Also, the rendezvous tools will be checked out in preparation for undocking.
"Only an Ocean Away," performed by Sarah Brightman for Sandy Magnus, awakened Atlantis' crewmembers at 3:48 a.m. It was requested by her jogging friends.
The next STS-112 status report will be issued this evening, or earlier if warranted.
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