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Occurred 24 years ago

STS-106's mission to the 143-foot-long station focused on unloading nearly three tons of cargo from the orbiter and a Progress supply craft already docked to the opposite end of the International Space Station.



mission duration

11 days, 19 hours, 12 minutes and 15 seconds


Sept. 8, 2000


Sept. 20, 2000
Portrait of STS-106 crew in orange space suites holding helmets in front of US and Russian flags.
Five NASA astronauts and two cosmonauts representing the Russian Aviation and Space Agency take a break in training from their scheduled September 2000 visit to the International Space Station (ISS). Astronauts Terrence W. Wilcutt (right front), and Scott D. Altman (left front) are mission commander and pilot, respectively. On the back row (from the left) are mission specialists Boris V. Morukov, cosmonaut, along with astronauts Richard A. Mastracchio, Edward T. Lu, and Daniel C. Burbank, and cosmonaut Yuri I. Malenchenko. Morukov and Malenchenko represent the Russian Aviation and Space Agency. Launched aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on September 8, 2000 at 7:46 a.m. (CDT), the STS-106 crew successfully prepared the International Space Station (ISS) for occupancy. Acting as plumbers, movers, installers and electricians, they installed batteries, power converters, a toilet and a treadmill on the outpost. They also delivered more than 2,993 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of supplies. Lu and Malenchenko performed a space walk to connect power, and data and communications cables to the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module and the Station.

Mission Facts

Mission: International Space Station Flight 2A.2b
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39B
Launched: September 8, 2000, 8:45:47 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: September 20, 2000, 3:58:01 a.m. EDT
Runway: 15
Rollout Distance: 9,127 feet
Rollout Time: 73 seconds
Revolution: 185
Mission Duration: 11 days, 19 hours, 12 minutes and 15 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 173 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 51.6 degrees
Miles Traveled: 4.9 million


Terrence W. Wilcutt, Commander
Scott D. Altman, Pilot
Boris V. Morukov, Mission Specialist
Richard A. Mastracchio, Mission Specialist
Edward T. Lu, Mission Specialist
Daniel C. Burbank, Mission Specialist
Yuri I. Malenchenko, Mission Specialist

Mission Highlights

STS-106, during its 11-day mission to the International Space Station, completed all assigned mission objectives to prepare the station for the first crew scheduled to launch in October. The mission to the 143-foot-long station focused on unloading nearly three tons of cargo from the orbiter and a Progress supply craft already docked to the opposite end of the International Space Station.

On flight day two, Atlantis completed a successful rendezvous and docking with the ISS in early morning setting the stage for six days of outfitting.

A 6 hour and 14 minute Extravehicular Activity (EVA) was completed successfully on day three, 16 minutes ahead of the planned schedule by Lu and Malenchenko. The spacewalk’s objective focused on routing and connecting nine power, data and communications cables between the Zvezda module and the other Russian-built module, Zarya, as well as installing the six-foot-long magnetometer to the station to serve as a compass showing the station in respect to the Earth. Lu and Malenchenko used tethers and handrails along the ISS to make their way to a point more than 100 feet above the cargo bay, the farthest any tethered spacewalker has ventured outside the shuttle. They completed this with the assistance of their inside crewmates Burbank and Mastracchio who deftly maneuvered them around with the robotic arm. This spacewalk celebrates the sixth spacewalk in support of the station assembly and the 50th spacewalk in space shuttle history.

On flight day four the crew entered the International Space Station through Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 (PMA-2) to begin the transfer operations of more than three tons of hardware and supplies. Atlantis’ crew was the first to see the interior of the Russian Zvezda service module since it was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in July. Additionally, a reboost was performed using the orbiter’s Reaction Control System (RCS) to place the station in a higher orbit.

Transfer of supplies and maintenance tasks continued well into the fifth day, while orbiter consumables remained above the required levels allowing managers to extend the mission one additional day.

Activities on flight day five included the installation of three batteries inside Zvezda. In order to reduce the weight for launch, Zvezda was launched with only five of its eight batteries in place.

Lu and Malenchenko spent much of flight day seven installing voltage and current stabilizers in Zvezda. Components of the Elektron system, equipment sent into orbit to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, were installed and will be activated after the first crew arrives.

The crew transferred more than 6,000 pounds of material – including six 100 pound bags of water, all of the food for the first resident crew, office supplies, onboard environmental supplies, a vacuum cleaner and a computer and monitor – to the interior of the station.

The astronauts spent a total of 5 days, 9 hours and 21 minutes inside the station before closing the hatch on the orbiting outpost. Wilcutt and Altman commanded a series of four altitude boosts to place the station in an orbit of approximately 241 by 233 statute miles, raising the average altitude by 14 miles. After spending 7 days, 21 hours and 54 minutes linked to the station, Atlantis undocked at 11:46 p.m. EDT as Wilcutt and Altman fired Atlantis’ jets to move to a distance of about 450 feet for a double-loop flyaround.

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