Astronaut Andy Thomas officially became a member of the Mir 24 crew late today and Dave Wolf became a member of the STS-89 crew after the exchange of U.S. astronauts on the Endeavour-Mir complex was delayed when problems were encountered during a fit check of Thomas’ Soyuz capsule pressure suit.
A fit and leak check of the pressure suit, known as a Sokol suit, had to be accomplished prior to the official transfer of Thomas to Mir as the seventh and final American to live and work on the Mir. During the pressure checks, Thomas encountered difficulty in getting his suit to fit properly and reported it would not fit over his head. Later, Thomas successfully completed a leak and pressure check wearing Wolf’s suit, and after lengthy discussions between U.S. and Russian flight controllers, a joint decision was made to allow Thomas to move over to the Mir and Wolf to Endeavour. Although Wolf’s suit is a little large for Thomas, especially in the arms, it is considered safe to use in the event the Soyuz capsule must depart the Mir because of an emergency. The crew transfer took place at about 5:35 p.m. Central time.
Apart from the suit issue, the astronauts and cosmonauts engaged in transferring supplies and equipment between the two spacecraft and also continued scientific investigations on board Endeavour.
The Shuttle-Mir complex is orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of about 216 nautical miles with all of its combined systems operating well.
An eight-hour sleep period for Endeavour’s astronauts will conclude at 4:48 a.m. Central time Monday with a wakeup call from Mission Control to begin another day of transfer activities with the Mir cosmonauts.
The next STS-89 status report will be issued Monday morning at 6 a.m. Central time.
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