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STS-108 Mission Status Report #17



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC

STS-108    Report # 17 
 Thursday, Dec. 13, 2001 - 6 p.m. CST 
 
 The crews of Endeavour and the International Space Station continued
packing the Italian-built Raffaello cargo module and the shuttle for the
trip home today as the new station crew began to settle in aboard the
complex for a five and a half-month stay.

The crew has already unloaded almost six tons of station food, clothes,
experiments and other gear that was launched aboard Endeavour and
Raffaello. Early today, the crews had also completed more than 70 percent
of the repacking of Raffaello for the trip home, loading the cargo module
with trash and gear from the offgoing station crew's mission such as
individualized Soyuz space suits and seat liners.

The 10 astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the shuttle-station complex
gathered this afternoon in the station's Destiny Laboratory for a formal
change of command ceremony as Expedition Three ends and Expedition Four
begins. The new crew officially took over duties aboard the station on
Saturday. Expedition Three -- Commander Frank Culbertson, Pilot Vladimir
Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin -- spent 117 days as the
station crew. Expedition Four -- Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight
Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz -- will remain aboard the complex
until May 2002.

On Friday, the crews will close the hatch on Raffaello and Endeavour
Pilot Mark Kelly will use the shuttle's robotic arm to detach it from the
station and lower it back into the shuttle's payload bay to be brought
back to Earth. The crews also will continue maintenance work on the
station, replacing a faulty air conditioner compressor. Endeavour will
undock from the station on Saturday.

Endeavour and the International Space Station remain in good shape,
orbiting at an average altitude of 241 statute miles. Last night, the
crew and Mission Control noted a transient problem with one of the
shuttle's three inertial measurement units (IMUs), the primary navigation
units for the shuttle. Only two of the three IMUs were on line at the
time, with the third unit off line to save electricity. The IMU that
experienced a problem, designated IMU 2, was immediately taken off line
and the third IMU brought on line. IMU 2 has operated well since then,
but it has remained off line and is considered failed by flight
controllers. The loss of one IMU has no impact on Endeavour's mission,
and the other two units are operating in excellent condition. Endeavour
could operate well on only one IMU if needed.

Endeavour's crew will begin a sleep period at 9:19 p.m. CST today and
awaken at 5:19 a.m. CST on Friday. The next Mission Status Report will be
issued at 6 a.m. CST Friday or as events warrant.
                      END



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