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Note:  If you're wondering why ISS hasn't had time for general QSOs, the 
answer can be found in the first couple of paragraphs of this story.  They've 
been VERY busy! R)

Space Shuttle Crew Enjoys Visit 

By JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press Writer 

SPACE CENTER, Houston (AP) - A brief visit from space shuttle astronauts has 
made life more enjoyable for the international space station crew. But 
station commander Bill Shepherd says they've still had plenty of work.

``We've been pretty busy cowboys and we've expressed that to the ground,'' 
Shepherd said. ``We're having some really long days. But it's getting 

Shepherd and his station crewmates, Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, have 
been working side by side with the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour since 
Friday. Endeavour's astronauts were the first visitors to space station Alpha 
since Shepherd and the Russian cosmonauts moved in Nov. 2.

Before joining the Alpha crew, the shuttle astronauts completed three 
spacewalks to install the space station's new electricity-producing solar 

During the daylong visit, the crews set up internal connections for the power 
supplied by the solar wings and exchanged supplies for the station. After 
pulling away from Alpha on Saturday, the Endeavour was set to land on Earth 
on Monday.

Shepherd and his crewmates have about three more months aboard Alpha. They 
have spent the first five weeks of their stay preparing for future additions 
to the space station, doing housekeeping duties and repairing a 
malfunctioning air conditioner and computers.

Their lives are now less cramped with the installation of the $600 million 
solar wings, which stretch 240 feet from tip to tip. One of Alpha's three 
rooms was closed off because there wasn't enough power to heat it.

While the space station is now roomier, for Shepherd it's still not the same 
as being at home.

``I miss being able to take a jog down the road. The thing I miss the most 
outside of family is my dog,'' Shepherd said.

Although free time for Shepherd and his crew has been limited at best, they 
manage to make use of some recreational equipment.

``We have some hobbies up here,'' Shepherd said. ``We like making things out 
of spare parts. We get to watch the Earth go by 15 times a day. And when we 
get time to look at it, it's very enjoyable.''

Back on Earth, NASA (news - web sites) reported Friday that during 
Endeavour's Nov. 30 launch, an explosive device for separating the left 
solid-fuel booster from the shuttle apparently did not work. The malfunction 
did not affect the shuttle's flight because a backup charge did its job, and 
the booster dropped away as planned.

``The system is redundant, it's redundantly designed for that very reason,'' 
said flight director Bill Reeves. ``We don't need to 'what-if' to the 
catastrophic failure. We have enough redundancy in the system to where that's 
not an option.''


(Note:  Times in this report are Central Standard)

STS-97, Mission Control Center 
Status Report # 17
Friday, Dec. 8, 2000 – 6 p.m. CST

They'd been next-door neighbors since last Saturday, but they didn't get to 
meet face-to-face in space until Friday morning. 

The crews of the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Endeavour 
opened the last hatch separating them at 8:36 a.m. Space station commander 
Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev greeted the 
Endeavour astronauts, Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Mike Bloomfield and Mission 
Specialists Marc Garneau, Carlos Noriega and Joe Tanner, with handshakes. 

The two crews had remained separated because the pressure aboard Endeavour 
had been reduced to help prepare Tanner and Noriega for their space walks. 

The solar arrays they helped get ready for deployment and later repaired are 
functioning well. Systems aboard the space station are working well and 
Endeavour is performing almost perfectly. 

"It has been a great mission," lead shuttle flight director Bill Reeves said 
at a Friday briefing. All objectives already have been accomplished, he said, 
except for the fly around of the space station by Endeavour after the 
Saturday undocking. 

The eight crew members worked together to transfer equipment and supplies 
between the two spacecraft, and take refuse from the station aboard Endeavour 
for return to Earth. They did structural tests of the station and its solar 
arrays. They also finished setting up and checking out a TV system. Tanner 
and Noriega installed a cable for that system Thursday during their third 
space walk. The system will help a shuttle crew attach the U.S. laboratory 
Destiny to the station during a January mission. 

Both crews held a news conference beginning at 3:57 p.m. Friday. They spoke 
live with reporters at Johnson Space Center in Houston, at Kennedy Space 
Center in Florida and at Canadian Space Agency headquarters near Montreal. 
Immediately afterwards they talked with the Discovery Channel. 

The space station crew was scheduled to go to bed about 6 p.m. and wake up at 
2:36 a.m. on Saturday. The shuttle crew will begin its sleep period about 10 
p.m. and be awakened at 6:06 a.m. Saturday. Endeavour is scheduled to undock 
from the space station at 1:13 p.m. Saturday and, after the flyaround of the 
ISS, begin final separation at 2:17 p.m. 

The next STS-97 status report will be issued Saturday morning. 

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