During communication sessions with Mission Control, Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev reported that they are about 70 percent complete with their work to transfer the nearly two tons of food, clothing, hardware and holiday items from their families that were carried to the ISS. The unloading of the Progress is expected to be completed by Friday, well in advance of the launch of the Shuttle Endeavour next Thursday night on the STS-97 mission to deliver the large U.S. solar arrays to the orbiting outpost.
The Progress vehicle is expected to be undocked from the Station the day after Endeavour's launch to clear a path for the Shuttle to linkup December 2nd to a new docking port installed on the Unity module last month.
In the latter portion of their workday, the crew took a few minutes out from their chores to offer a Thanksgiving Day greeting to flight controllers who will be working both in Houston in the International Space Station Flight Control Room at the Johnson Space Center, and at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev, outside Moscow. The crew expressed its appreciation for the hard work offered in support of the Expedition One mission, and extended best wishes to all people for a happy holiday season. "When you ride a good rocket ship to orbit," said Shepherd, "you have a lot to be thankful for." Shepherd and his crew mates were launched on October 31st on a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev are scheduled to have a normal workday tomorrow and Friday, before enjoying off-duty time over the weekend. Next week, they will complete preparations for the arrival of Endeavour and the STS-97 crew -- the first of three shuttles that will visit the Expedition One crewmembers during their four-month stay on the Station.
The International Space Station continues to orbit the Earth in excellent shape at an altitude of 240 statute miles.