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STS-115 MCC Status Report #18


2 a.m. CDT Monday, Sept. 18, 2006
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

STS-115 MCC Status Report #18

The International Space Station is a busy place these days.

Sunday saw the departure of the space shuttle visitors who had been 
working from the orbiting complex the past six days with a 7:50 a.m. CDT 
undocking of Atlantis. Hours later, three more explorers launched toward 
the station in a Soyuz spacecraft.

Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Soyuz Commander Mikhail 
Tyurin and spaceflight participant Anousheh Ansari lifted off at 11:09 
p.m. CDT Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

They are expected to arrive at the station early Wednesday. They will 
begin nearly nine days of handover activity as Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin 
prepare for their own six-month stay. Ansari, visiting the station as 
part of a commercial agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency, 
will return to Earth with Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and 
Flight Engineer Jeff Williams. European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas 
Reiter will remain onboard as part of Expedition 14.

Traveling about 50 miles behind the station, the Atlantis crew -- 
Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson and Mission Specialists Dan 
Burbank, Joe Tanner, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean -- woke 
at 10:15 p.m. to “Rocky Mountain High.” It was played for Tanner.

The crew will focus today on the final inspection of the shuttle’s 
reinforced-carbon-carbon surfaces on the wing leading edges and nose 
cap. Ferguson, Burbank and MacLean will use the shuttle’s robotic arm to 
get a final look at those areas, ensuring no critical damage may have 
occurred since their arrival in space. Aside from a few other minor 
tasks it will be a light-duty day. Atlantis is prepared for its landing 
Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The next STS-115 mission status report will be issued Monday afternoon, 
or earlier if events warrant.

Sent via sarex@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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