Encyclopedia Astronautica
2006.09.11 - STS-115 MCC Status Report #04


The Space Shuttle Atlantis crew has begun a busy and exciting day. The shuttle and the International Space Station are scheduled to dock at 5:46 a.m. CDT and begin seven days of joint operations.

The crew awoke at 11:15 p.m. to a solo cello performance by Dan Burbank’s children. About an hour later the crew began rendezvous operations. As Atlantis approaches the station, Commander Brent Jett and Pilot Chris Ferguson will do the rendezvous pitch maneuver. The maneuver, essentially a back flip, lets the station crew photograph Atlantis' heat shield.

Throughout the morning, other shuttle crewmembers, mission specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean, will conduct other tasks including filling spacesuit water containers, photo and video setups, and exercise.

Once docked, they’ll do leak checks before opening the hatches to the space station. Meanwhile, Ferguson and Burbank will attach the shuttle's robotic arm to the P3/P4 Truss in the payload bay and prepare for its unberthing and handover to the station's Canadarm2. The two crews are expected to meet personally in space a little before 7 a.m. After their initial greetings, and a standard safety briefing, both teams move into one of the biggest tasks of the mission, moving P3/P4 to its new home in space.

Ferguson and Burbank will unberth the 17.5 ton truss from Atlantis’ cargo hold and maneuver it to the grapple position for the station arm. MacLean will join Expedition 13 NASA Science Officer Jeff Williams at the controls of the Candarm2, becoming the first Canadian to operate it in space.

Other crewmembers will begin transfer activities, check out spacewalk equipment and review procedures for the mission's three spacewalks. The day will end with Stefanyshyn-Piper and Tanner moving into the Quest Airlock, its pressure reduced to 10.2 psi, in the pre-spacewalk “campout” protocol. The station crew is scheduled for sleep at 2:45 p.m. and the shuttle crew 30 minutes later.

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