[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Docking Nears for Atlantis, Space Station


*Docking Nears for Atlantis, Space Station*

Image above: A video camera aboard the International Space Station 
captured this
image of a plume surrounding Atlantis as it fired its engines
to refine its approach to the station. Image credit: NASA TV


+ View Launch Day Photo Gallery 
+ View Launch Day Video Gallery 

Space Shuttle Atlantis is close to reaching its destination, the 
International Space Station. Docking is slated to take place at 3:38 
p.m. EDT today. Atlantis’ arrival will set the stage for the next phase 
of the station’s on-orbit construction and a change in the Expedition 15 

Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Lee Archambault fired Atlantis’ 
engines at 1 p.m. to refine the approach to the station. About an hour 
before docking, Sturckow and Archambault will guide the shuttle through 
a back-flip maneuver that will allow the Expedition 15 crew to 
photograph the shuttle’s protective heat-resistant tiles. The imagery 
will be sent to engineers on Earth for analysis.

After Atlantis docks, the shuttle and station crews will conduct 
pressure and leak checks before the hatches between the spacecraft open 
at 4:58. The two crews will greet each other and quickly begin joint 

One of the first major tasks is the station crew rotation. STS-117 
Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson will switch places with Expedition 
15 Flight Engineer Suni Williams, who will be wrapping up a six-month 
tour of duty as an Expedition crew member. Anderson is scheduled to stay 
on the station until he returns to Earth with STS-120 later this year.

Also, preparations will begin today for Monday’s installation of the 
Starboard 3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment and the first of three scheduled 
STS-117 spacewalks. The crews will use the shuttle robotic arm to lift 
the S3/S4 out of Atlantis’ payload bay and hand it off to the station arm.

The S3/S4 is scheduled to be attached to the station at 11:08 a.m. 
Monday. Then, STS-117 Mission Specialists John “Danny” Olivas and Jim 
Reilly will make connections between the station and the new truss 
segment during the spacewalk, which is set to kick off at 2:53 p.m.

On Saturday, the crew used Atlantis’ robotic arm and an attached boom 
extension to check the spacecraft’s underside, nose cap and leading 
edges of the wings as well as hard to reach shuttle surfaces. The 
robotic arm cameras took a closer look at an area of insulation blanket 
on the port orbital maneuvering system pod that pulled away from 
adjacent thermal tiles. Engineers are analyzing the imagery. Olivas took 
additional photographs of the area this morning.

*STS-117 Mission*
+ The Crew 

+ The Mission 

+ The Integrated Truss Structure 
Sent via sarex@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Not an AMSAT member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
Subscription settings: http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/sarex