Encyclopedia Astronautica
2001.07.22 - STS-104 Mission Status Report #22


Atlantis crewmembers, Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Charlie Hobaugh and Mission Specialists Janet Kavandi, Mike Gernhardt and Jim Reilly, will spend their day preparing the spacecraft for its return to Earth Monday night.

Lindsey and Hobaugh will do a test firing of the reaction control system jets that will be used to maneuver Atlantis as it begins to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. The pair also will check out the orbiter's flight control surfaces that will be used to maneuver Atlantis when it reaches the lower portions of the atmosphere. Finally, they will test Atlantis' communications systems.

Kavandi, Gernhardt and Reilly will put away some of the equipment they used during their eight days docked to the International Space Station. They also will stow some of the 2,550 pounds of equipment they are bringing home from the station. Atlantis is almost 100 statute miles ahead of the space station and increasing the separation by almost nine miles per 90-minute orbit.

Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday at 11:37 p.m. CDT. Another landing opportunity is available on the subsequent orbit, which would see Atlantis touch down at 1:13 a.m. Tuesday. Though the outlook was improving, forecasts for landing time still carried the possibility of clouds and rain.

During the afternoon, Russian flight controllers performed the first two firings of thrusters of the Progress resupply vehicle docked at the rear of the station's Service Module. These burns and three subsequent firings of the Progress thrusters this week will adjust the inclination of the station's orbit. The slight adjustment is being made to prepare for arrival of Discovery on the STS-105 mission and the next Progress, both in August, and the launch of the Russian Docking Compartment in September. The Atlantis crew was awakened at 4:36 p.m. Sunday by the song "Orinoco Flow" sung by Enya. The song was played for Mike Gernhardt. All systems aboard Atlantis continue to function normally as the spacecraft orbits the Earth at an average altitude of 240 statute miles.

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