Astronauts Jim Voss and Jeff Williams spent over six hours outside the Space Shuttle Atlantis this morning, completing a variety of planned assembly and maintenance tasks on the International Space Station with ease.
Voss and Williams started the spacewalk early and remained ahead of schedule throughout. The astronauts secured a United States-built crane that was installed on the station last year; installed the final parts of a Russian-built crane on the station; replaced a faulty antenna for one of the station's communications systems; and installed several handrails and a camera cable on the station's exterior. The six-hour, 44-minute spacewalk began at 8:48 p.m. CDT Sunday and was completed at 3:32 a.m. CDT today. Assisting with the activities from inside Atlantis' cabin was Pilot Scott Horowitz while Mission Specialist Mary Ellen Weber operated the Shuttle's robotic arm, which she used to maneuver Voss during much of the spacewalk.
The extravehicular activity conducted by Voss and Williams marks the fifth spacewalk conducted for construction of the International Space Station; the 49th spacewalk based out of the Space Shuttle; and the 85th spacewalk in history conducted by U.S. astronauts.
The crew's attention now turns to entering the station, a process planned to begin at 7:11 p.m. today. The astronauts will open a total of six hatches as they move through the station's compartments. The first hatch into the station's Unity connecting module will be opened about 7:56 p.m. and the first hatch into the Zarya module will be opened about 9:11 p.m. Once inside the station, the crew will begin transferring equipment and performing maintenance work immediately. Replacement of four batteries in the Zarya will begin about 11:31 p.m., with astronaut Susan Helms and cosmonaut Yury Usachev scheduled to install two new batteries and their associated electronics. Helms and Usachev will install the remaining two replacement batteries later during the docked phase of the flight.
The crew plans to go to sleep at about 8 this morning and will be awakened by Mission Control at 3:56 p.m., with the focus of work this evening being the first entry into the station. Atlantis and the International Space Station remain in good condition orbiting Earth each 91 minutes with a high point of 209 statute miles and a low point of 203 statute miles.
Background: STS-101, Mission Control Center -- Status Report # 01 (IssuedFriday, May 19, 2000 - 6:00 a.m. CDT)
With dawn's first light glimmering above, six American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center to pay a "home improvement" house call on the fledgling International Space Station.
Riding aboard the upgraded and refurbished space Shuttle Atlantis, Commander Jim Halsell, Pilot Scott Horowitz and Mission Specialists Mary Ellen Weber, Jeff Williams, Jim Voss, Susan Helms and Yury Usachev rocketed away from their Florida launch site at 5:11 a.m. Central time, a pre-dawn launch by Shuttle standards. Atlantis quickly rose into daylight as it raced up the Eastern seaboard in pursuit of the 76-foot long, 35-ton international station, which was flying over the Ukraine, southwest of Kiev.
The launch was Atlantis' first since September 1997. Atlantis recently underwent major modifications, including the introduction of a state-of-the-art, hi-tech glass cockpit filled with computer displays to replace the old cockpit dials and switches.
Atlantis launched on time after three delays last month caused by high winds at the launch site and at overseas emergency landing strips. Today, conditions were perfect. Atlantis is scheduled to link up to the space station at 11:31 p.m. Central time Saturday night (12:31 a.m. Eastern time Sunday morning).
Once on orbit, Atlantis' crew began to set up shuttle systems for the planned 10-day mission, preparing to open the ship's cargo bay doors, which will be followed by the activation of the double Spacehab module housed in the rear of the cargo bay, containing more than a ton of supplies the crew will transfer to the station.
The astronauts will begin their first eight-hour sleep period just five hours after liftoff, at 10:11 a.m. Central time, and will be awakened at 6:11 p.m. this evening to begin their first full day in orbit. Prior to the start of that sleep period, Halsell and Horowitz will fire Atlantis' maneuvering jets in the first of a series of maneuvers designed to put the shuttle on a precise course to the International Space Station.
After the first rendezvous maneuver, Atlantis will be circling the Earth in a slightly elliptical orbit of about 201 by 124 statute miles, inclined 51.6 degrees to either side of the equator.
Editor's Note: For the latest news about this mission, see http://spaceflight.nasa.gov
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