For the first time in six months, astronauts entered the International Space Station delivering supplies and preparing the outpost to receive its first resident crew, scheduled to arrive in early 2000.
Mission Specialists Tammy Jernigan and Russian Space Agency cosmonaut Valery Tokarev opened the hatch into the Unity module at 8:14 p.m. CDT Sunday, then continued through Pressurized Mating Adapter 1 into the Zarya module at 9:07 p.m. Commander Kent Rominger and the rest of the crew - Pilot Rick Husband and Mission Specialists Ellen Ochoa, Dan Barry and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette - soon followed.
After inspecting their expanded living quarters, the crew began transferring supplies, equipment and water that will be left aboard, an effort that was coordinated by Ochoa. The bulk of the supplies and equipment were shipped up in a double Spacehab module carried in Discovery's cargo bay.
Payette and Tokarev replaced 12 of 18 battery recharge controllers in the Russian-built Zarya module. Zarya has six batteries, which have been experiencing a slight loss in capacity during recharge. Each battery has three "charge controllers," known by the Russian acronym MIRTS. The astronauts replaced controllers for four of the batteries, and are scheduled to replace the recharge controllers for the other two later today. The work was carefully coordinated with flight controllers in the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow, who issued commands to turn the battery systems on and off via ground-based communication stations. Barry and Tokarev also installed a series of "mufflers" over fans inside Zarya to reduce noise levels in that module.
Barry and Husband replaced a power distribution unit and transceiver for the Early Communications System in the Unity module, restoring that system to its full capability. This supplemental communications system enables flight controllers to send commands to the station from the Mission Control complex in Houston.
Near the end of their workday, Rominger, Jernigan and Barry discussed the progress of their mission, including Jernigan and Barry's space walk and last night's entry into the International Space Station, with NBC's "Today," show, CBS "This Morning" and CNN.
The crew is scheduled to begin its sleep period at 8:20 a.m. CDT, and will awaken at 4:20 p.m. to continue their work in the ISS.
The next STS-96 mission status report will be issued at approximately 7 p.m. Central time or as events warrant.
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