Preparations included powering down Mission Control Houston as Lili approached the Gulf Coast. The storm was expected to take a more northerly heading beginning late today or early Thursday, leading to a landfall on the Louisiana coast. Forecasters say it will be at least midnight before the storm's course becomes more clear, so preparations continue at Johnson Space Center.
The hurricane preparation in Houston also led to a delay in the launch of Atlantis to the on STS-112 flight to the space station. Atlantis, bringing the Starboard 1 Truss segment to the station, is now scheduled to launch no earlier than Monday. The Houston Support Group is an organization that includes flight controllers and others based at Mission Control Moscow in the Russian capital's suburb of Korolev. They will continue reduced flight control operations communicating with the orbiting laboratory using Russian ground stations augmented by U.S. ground stations. The group in Russia remains in close contact with the flight control team in Houston, which is using other Johnson Space Center facilities.
Aboard the orbiting laboratory, Expedition 5 Commander Valery Korzun, NASA International Space Station Science Officer Peggy Whitson, and Cosmonaut Sergei Treschev, were told of the shift Tuesday afternoon CDT, near the end of their working day. They were told a little after 9 a.m. today of the delay in Atlantis' launch.
The station's 240-foot solar wing assembly is no longer tracking the sun, because of reduced monitoring capabilities on the ground. As a result of decreased power production, some non-essential equipment aboard the station was turned off to reduce power consumption. Otherwise, the crew is working through an essentially normal day on the orbiting laboratory.