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STS-106 Mission Journal

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The ISS flies over North America on Wednesday morning. Image courtesy NASA TV.

Atlantis lands at KSC on first attempt!

STS-106 Mission Patch - Image courtesy of NASA.

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20 September 2000 - 11PM EDT - More on this morning's Shuttle Landing. Video clips here and here.

UPI: Shuttle returns from Space Station mission. [Bottom of page]. The countdown starts for STS-92!


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20 September - 7AM EDT - Landing! Atlantis is back on the ground at KSC, overcoming iffy weather to touch down on the first landing opportunity. NASA recounts:

STS-106 Ends Successful Space Station Mission
At 2:56 a.m. CDT, or 7:56 GMT, Wednesday, Sept. 20, Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to end STS-106. Image courtesy of NASA. At 2:56 a.m. CDT, or 7:56 GMT, Space Shuttle Atlantis and its seven-member crew landed at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., ending STS-106. While in orbit, the STS-106 crew successfully prepared the International Space Station for the arrival of the first permanent crew. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts performed a space walk to connect power, data and communications cables to the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module and the station. The crew also delivered more than 2,993 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of supplies and installed batteries, power converters, a toilet and a treadmill on the station. STS-106, which launched Sept. 8, logged 7.9 million kilometers (4.9 million miles).

Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see continuing coverage of STS-106. Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. CDT, 14:30 GMT, the astronaut post-landing news conference is scheduled to begin. The NASA TV schedule is available online.

This was the 15th night landing for the Shuttle program, with more expected as the pace of Shuttle flights increases. Atlantis touched down precisely on time at KSC at 3:56AM EDT.

Check back tonight for video clips.


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20 September - 12:30AM EDT - Atlantis' on-board computers are being loaded with the software they need to go from general-purpose mode to re-entry mode. No Quake Deathmatches up there, you guys! Watch the action on NASA TV.

Follow the play-by-play at Florida Today, SpaceFlight Now, and Space.com.

Video clips, including Flight Day highlights, are available at the Houston Chronicle and at NASA.


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20 September - 12:15AM EDT - The clamshell-shaped Payload Bay doors are closed and latched, in preparation for the de-orbit burn, which is the firing of thrusters that will slow the spacecraft enough to initiate re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, where it will behave like an airplane (more like a giant glider - the engines only work in space or on launch). Everything is reported to be proceeding ahead of schedule, as Atlantis flies the 184th orbit of the mission. A band of cirrus clouds is approaching the 3-mile Shuttle Landing Facility (the longest runway in the world!), and KSC officials are keeping an eye on that.

 

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19 September 2000 - MIDNIGHT EDT - Flight Director Wayne Hale has given the "go" for closure of the Orbiter's payload bay doors. Weather is go (so far).


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19 September - 11:40PM EDT - Atlantis continues in orbit tonight, with the next mission event, the de-orbit burn, scheduled for 2:50AM EDT (Wednesday morning). Chief astronaut Charlie Precourt is flying a T-38 jet around the landing facility to gauge the weather, and he reports that showers are settling down. NASA states:

STS-106 Nears End of Mission
The STS-106 astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis are preparing for their return to Earth with a planned predawn touchdown on the 3-mile long Shuttle Landing Facility runway at the Kennedy Space Center at 2:56 a.m. CDT Wednesday. The forecasted weather for early Wednesday shows essentially favorable conditions with some concern for rain showers in the vicinity of the Florida spaceport.
Just before 10 p.m. [Houston time], the astronauts will begin their deorbit preparations. After closing Atlantis' payload bay doors at 11:10 p.m., the crew will put on their pressurized launch and entry suits and strap into their seats shortly before 1 a.m. Entry Flight Director Wayne Hale is expected to poll the flight control team for the final decision for the deorbit burn 20 minutes prior to the planned firing of Atlantis' orbital maneuvering system engines at 1:50 a.m. Central which would result in a landing for Atlantis at 2:56 a.m.

Spaceflight Now has re-entry predictions online.


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19 September - 9PM EDT - The five astronauts and two cosmonauts of Shuttle mission STS-106 have begun Flight Day 13, their last day in orbit. Just 7 hours from now, the crew of Atlantis is scheduled to touch down at the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC in Florida. Weather is a minor concern, though Hurricane Gordon has passed out of the area. There will be two opportunities to land tonight (Wednesday morning - 3:35AM EDT, and one orbit later at 5:33AM EDT). Edwards AFB is available as a backup landing site for Thursday. NASA reports:

STS-106 Nears End of Mission
The mission to prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of the first resident crew is about to wrap up. During its final full day in orbit, the STS-106 crew began preparing Space Shuttle Atlantis for its return home to Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Commander Terry Wilcutt and Pilot Scott Altman tested the orbiter's 44 thruster jets and flight control surfaces. Also in preparation for the landing, the crew deactivated the SPACEHAB module and stowed equipment.
Forecasts indicate favorable weather conditions for Atlantis' first landing opportunity, which is at 2:56 a.m. CDT, or 7:56 GMT, Wednesday. A second landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday is available at 4:33 a.m. CDT, or 9:33 GMT. The ground tracks for Wednesday's landing opportunities are now available. Ask the Expert answers from the STS-106 crew and flight controllers in the MCC are available.
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19 September - 7:30AM EDT - Flight Day 12 is almost over, with the crew of STS-106 turning their attention towards their homecoming early tomorrow. CBS has the burn schedule. Check back with us tonight for updates.

 

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18 September 2000 - 8PM EDT - Getting ready to come home, the Atlantis crew are beginning Flight Day 12. They have made the ISS ready for its first permanent crew, undocked, and are preparing to return to Earth. Live coverage on NASA TV.

Atlantis' Crew Prepares for Landing
Having departed the International Space Station last night, Atlantis' crew will now spend a day checking the shuttle's equipment and stowing away gear in preparation for the trip home, aiming for a 2:56 a.m. CDT landing on Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This evening Wilcutt and Altman will test the systems that will be used during the return home to Kennedy Space Center to ensure that equipment remains in good condition. Around 8:45 p.m. Central, a test of the flight control systems that maneuver the shuttle once it re-enters the atmosphere and begins to operate like an airplane will be conducted. Just before 10 p.m., a test fire of all 44 thruster jets on Atlantis will be performed to verify they are in good working order.

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18 September 2000 - 6PM EDT - The crew is sleeping now, with tonight's work ahead. Preparations will continue for an early Wednesday landing at KSC. Live coverage on NASA TV. News updates at CBS. NASA reports:

Space Shuttle Atlantis undocks from the International Space Station to begin its journey back home. The STS-106 crew leaves the station ready for the arrival of the first resident crew in November. Atlantis is slated to land Wednesday at 2:56 a.m. CDT, or 7:56 GMT. Ground tracks are now available for Wednesday's scheduled landing.
Ask The Expert answers from the STS-106 crew and flight controllers in the MCC are available. STS-106 images are now available in the Gallery. Check out Flight Day 9 images. STS-106 videos also are available.

While the Atlantis crew is getting ready to wrap up their successful flight, controversy about the ISS rages on. The astronauts, for their part, have declared the station fit for a permanent crew.

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18 September 2000 - 10AM EDT - At last night's press conference, ISS deputy manager Robert Cabana said, "This crew has certainly laid out the red carpet for the first crew to come aboard the International Space Station." Continuing coverage on NASA TV. NASA reports:

Atlantis Undocks from Station
The STS-106 crew answers questions from media in the United States and Russia. Seated on the front row from left to right are Pilot Scott Altman, Commander Terry Wilcutt and Mission Specialist Yuri Malenchenko. In the back row from left to right are Mission Specialists Dan Burbank, Rick Mastracchio, Ed Lu and Boris Morukov. Image courtesy of NASA. The STS-106 crew is now in the last leg of its mission after Space Shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station at 10:46 p.m. CDT Sunday, or 3:46 GMT Monday. While at the station, the STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts prepared it for the arrival of the first resident crew. Early Monday, the five astronauts and two cosmonauts answered questions from media at NASA centers and the Russian mission control center. The remainder of their time awake during Flight Day 11 will be spent off duty. After they wake up Monday afternoon, the crew members will begin preparing the shuttle for landing. Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Florida Wednesday morning at 2:56 CDT, or 7:56 GMT.


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18 September - 1:35AM EDT - Atlantis has completed its fly-around inspection of the International Space Station, and has performed a separation burn that will let it move away from the Station, in preparation for an early Wednesday landing. Crew news briefing at 3:11AM EDT. Live coverage on NASA TV. Check back with us later today for more updates.


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18 September - 12:50AM EDT - Atlantis continues to move around the ISS, about 440 feet away. Pilot Scott Altman has completed the first of two laps around the ISS, allowing the crew to photograph and videotape the Station's exterior, to be evaluated by engineers in Houston and Korolev (Russia). Final separation burn scheduled for about 45 minutes from now. The Station's maneuvering system is back on-line. Mission Status Briefing is scheduled at 1:45AM EDT. NASA reports:

Atlantis Undocks from Station
The International Space Station as it appears from Atlantis a few minutes after undocking. Image courtesy of NASA.The International Space Station is operating in good condition and is ready to become the home to the Expedition 1 crew in November. Space Shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station at 10:46 p.m. CDT Sunday, or 3:46 GMT Monday. The seven STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts turned out the lights and closed the doors on a new home in space after spending a week working as movers, cleaners, plumbers, electricians and cable installers. Inside the station, the crew transferred more than 2,994 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of supplies and installed batteries, power converters, the treadmill and the toilet. Also, two astronauts rode the shuttle's robotic arm to the Zvezda Service Module for a 6-hour, 14-minute space walk.

Prior to arrival of the station's first resident crew, STS-92 will deliver the Z1 Truss, four Control Moment Gyroscopes and Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 in October.

 

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18 September - 12:20AM EDT - Atlantis continues to move away from the ISS, and the Orbiter docking systems are powering down. Check the play-by-play at Florida Today (although for once, we seem to be more up-to-date!). Pilot Scott Altman is performing the nose-first, clockwise fly-around of the Station, so that the Atlantis crew can document the exterior appearance. Russian flight controllers are especially interested in the appearance of the Progress supply vehicle, which is a new version "M1-3" modification. The Progress is an unmanned cargo ship, somewhat resembling a Soyuz capsule (and launched via Soyuz rocket from Baikonur). Progress vehicles are used to bring supplies up to the Station, and can be filled with trash for re-entry, where they burn up in the atmosphere.


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18 September 2000 - 12:05AM EDT - Atlantis continues to move away from the ISS (currently 375 feet away), with Mission Control reporting that things are going very smoothly. NASA reports:

Atlantis Undocks from Station
The STS-106 crew is now in the last leg of its mission after Space Shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station at 10:46 p.m. CDT Sunday, or 3:46 GMT Monday. While at the station, the STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts prepared it for the arrival of the first resident crew. Among the tasks performed was a 6-hour, 14-minute space walk to connect the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module to the station with nine power, data and communication cables. Inside the station, the crew transferred more than 2,994 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of supplies and installed batteries, power converters, the treadmill and the toilet. Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Florida Wednesday morning at 2:56 CDT, or 7:56 GMT.

 

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17 September 2000 - 11:55PM EDT - The Station's docking system has been powered down, as Atlantis continues to separate from the ISS. Now at 136 feet away.


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17 September - 11:46PM EDT - Undocking confirmed! Live coverage on NASA TV.


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17 September - 11:40PM EDT - Houston gave the green light to Atlantis to undock a few minutes ago. The crew has requested a 2-minute delay in order to reboot some on-board computers. This is well within the 13-minute window available for the maneuver.


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17 September - 11:20PM EDT - Pilot Scott Altman is prepping for undocking and fly-around of the Station in less 25 minutes from now. The docking interface is powered up, and rendezvous software is ready to go. Live coverage on NASA TV.


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17 September 2000 - 10:40PM EDT - The Shuttle crew undocks tonight at 11:44PM EDT. NASA reports:

Crew Prepares for Undocking
Following a successful week of docked operations, the seven astronauts aboard shuttle Atlantis prepare to depart the International Space Station later this evening, leaving behind the more than 2,990 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of supplies and equipment that was transferred to the orbiting facility.
Atlantis is scheduled to separate from the station at 10:44 p.m. [Houston time] while the two spacecraft are flying over the northeastern portion of the Ukraine.

Pilot Scott Altman will perform a fly-around of the Station following the undocking. The Station's solar arrays have been angled to avoid damage from the Orbiter's thrusters. Atlantis is scheduled to land at KSC Wednesday morning at 3:56AM EDT.


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17 September 2000 - 11AM EDT - The Shuttle crew has buttoned up the ISS and are preparing to undock tonight. NASA reports:

STS-106 Crew Exits Space Station
The crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis finished its work inside the International Space Station and has exited the orbital outpost. The crew closed the final hatch between Atlantis and the station at about 7 a.m. CDT, or 12 GMT, Sunday. While inside the station, the STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts prepared it for the arrival of its first permanent crew, which is scheduled to arrive in early November. Among the duties performed was the transfer of more than 3 tons of supplies and equipment from Atlantis and the Progress cargo ship. Also, the crew installed batteries, power converters and the station's treadmill. Now, the attention of the STS-106 crew and flight controllers shifts toward Sunday night's undocking, which is scheduled for Sunday at 10:44 p.m. CDT, or Monday at 3:44 GMT.
Atlantis Raises Station's Orbit; STS-106 Crew Closes Final Hatch
It was a busy day for the STS-106 crew during its last day on the International Space Station. The fourth and final maneuver to reboost the station's orbit by using the thruster jets of Space Shuttle Atlantis was performed. The hour-long maneuver lifted the complex 5.6 kilometers (3.5 statute miles). All told, the four reboosts raised the station's orbit by 22.5 kilometers (14 statute miles).
Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see continuing coverage of STS-106. Atlantis is scheduled to undock from the station at 10:44 p.m. CDT Sunday, or 03:44 GMT. The undocking may not be carried live. NASA TV schedule is available online. Ask the Expert answers from the STS-106 crew and flight controllers in the MCC are available. The STS-106 Press Kit is available.

Check continuing coverage at Houston Chronicle and Florida Today.

 

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16 September 2000 - Update 11:20PM EDT - Just minutes from now, the Atlantis crew will proceed with their fourth reboost procedure of the week, firing the Reaction Control System jets with a one-hour series of pulses (at 100-second intervals) to increase the altitude of the ISS. NASA reports:

Crew Begins Last Day on Station
The STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts begin their final workday on the International Space Station, finishing their efforts of making the orbiting facility a home for the arrival of its first permanent residents.
The Atlantis astronauts will finish checking the three tons of supplies and equipment that have been transferred to the station in preparation for the arrival of the its first crew in November. Then, the crew will close and secure the hatches that connect each of the station components. The final hatch between the station and Atlantis will be secured around 7:30 a.m. CDT, or 12:30 GMT, on Sunday.

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16 September 2000 - Update 8:45PM EDT - The crew of Atlantis woke up about an hour ago, to begin their last full day of docked operations with the ISS. There will be another thruster firing tonight around 11:30PM EDT, which will bring the Station's orbit a total of 14 miles higher than it was at the start of this mission.  NASA reports:

STS-106 Crew Installs Treadmill
Clockwise from the top, STS-106 Pilot Scott Altman, Mission Specialist Ed Lu and Mission Specialist Boris Morukov install a treadmill in the Zvezda Service Module. Image coutesy of NASA.
[Last night,] the STS-106 crew installed a treadmill in the Zvezda Service Module. The treadmill has a sophisticated system that will prevent exercise-induced vibrations from disturbing experiments that will be performed on the station. Also, the crew reinstalled four Common Berthing Mechanism controllers in the port that leads to the docking port that Atlantis is occupying. The astronauts and cosmonauts continued the transfer of supplies. The STS-106 crew is slated to leave the station Sunday.
Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see continuing coverage of STS-106. Saturday at 10:11 p.m. CDT, or Sunday at 03:11 GMT, the STS-106 crew will begin leaving the International Space Station. Final hatch closure is scheduled for 7:31 a.m., or 12:31 GMT, Sunday. Some of these events may not be televised live. The NASA TV schedule is available online.

Check continuing coverage at Houston Chronicle and Florida Today.


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16 September 2000 - Another eventful day. NASA reports:

STS-106 Crew Installs Treadmill
Onboard the International Space Station, the STS-106 crew continued its work to prepare the station for the arrival of the Expedition 1 crew. During Flight Day 9, the crew installed a treadmill on the Zvezda Service Module. Also, four Common Berthing Mechanism controllers were reinstalled on the station's port that leads to the docking port that is currently occupied by Space Shuttle Atlantis. Also, the transfer of supplies continued.
Tonight at 10:11 CDT, or Sunday at 3:11 GMT, the crew is slated to begin leaving the station when it closes the hatch to the Progress cargo ship. The final hatch closure between the station and Atlantis is scheduled for 7:31 a.m. CDT, or 12:31 GMT, Sunday.

More on the treadmill installation from CNN, and on the electrical work from UPI.

Check continuing coverage at Houston Chronicle and Florida Today.

 

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15 September 2000 - Another busy day on the Station. Let's go through the day's events from NASA...

Friday AM:

Atlantis Raises Station's Orbit
The astronauts and cosmonauts of STS-106 resume their transfer activities to begin the fifth day of docked operations on the Atlantis-International Space Station complex. Having already unloaded 590 kilograms (1,300 pounds) of gear from the Progress spacecraft, they continue unloading supplies from Atlantis. Work continues on the International Space Station for the arrival of the Expedition 1 crew, which is slated to arrive in early November.
This a view of the International Space Station from a camera in Space Shuttle Atlantis' payload bay. Image courtesy of NASA. The third in a series of four scheduled maneuvers to raise the station's orbit was performed during Flight Day 7. STS-106 Commander Terry Wilcutt and Pilot Scott Altman fired Atlantis' thruster jets to raise the station's orbit by 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles).
Meanwhile, Mission Specialists Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko installed power converters in the Zvezda Service Module.
Ask the Expert answers from the STS-106 crew and flight controllers in the MCC are available.

Friday afternoon:

STS-106 Crew Continues Work
During Flight Day 8, the STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts continued their work on the International Space Station to prepare it for the arrival of its first permanent resident crew. Mission Specialists Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko installed four power converters in the Zvezda Service Module. The converters will allow currents from the U.S. solar power arrays, which will be installed during STS-97, to be used in Zvezda and the Zarya Control Module. Malenchenko and Lu also installed components of the station's air replenishing system. Meanwhile, the crew continued to transfer supplies from Space Shuttle Atlantis and began to store trash in the Progress cargo ship.

Check continuing coverage at Houston Chronicle and Florida Today.

Here's the latest Shuttle Status Report and the evening Mission Control Center Status Report.

 

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14 September 2000 - 6PM EDT - Shuttle mission to the the ISS keeps on going. A new Flight Day starts tonight. NASA reports:

STS-106 Crew Continues Transfer of Equipment and Supplies
The seven astronauts aboard the Atlantis-International Space Station will soon resume their transfer activities as they start their 5th day of docked operations inside the orbiting facility. As of the start of their workday today, approximately one third of the almost three tons of supplies and equipment have already been moved into the station.
Highlights of the day include the continuing transfer of equipment and supplies from Atlantis to the International Space Station and the organization and stowage of that gear inside the ISS. The 1,300 pounds of ISS gear aboard the Progress cargo spacecraft docked to the aft end of the Zvezda module already has been unloaded.
Get Answers to Your Space Station and Shuttle Questions
Image of the Space Station with the rim of the Earth's surface in the background. Image courtesy of NASA.
As the seven members of the crew of Space Shuttle Mission STS-106 continue their work aboard the International Space Station, they send us this beautiful view of the station and the Earth below. Click here for a larger view. Do you have a question for the crew or experts at Mission Control? Have you always wondered about some aspect of space travel? If so, follow the link and get answers from the experts. Ask the Expert answers from the MCC are available.

Live TV interviews Friday morning at 8:31AM EDT on NASA TV


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14 September 2000 - 9AM EDT - The Atlantis mission to the the ISS remains on schedule. NASA reports (from late last night):

Crew Performs Electronics Tasks
As part of their activities, STS-106 crew members will install a battery charger in the Zvezda Service Module. The device will be hooked into Zvezda's electrical power system to allow batteries in visiting Progress or Soyuz vehicles to be charged, using the station's power system. The crew will also complete the installation of a final battery in the Zarya Control Module before installing the two Russian Orlan spacesuits that will be used by resident crews to perform space walks outside the station.

Atlantis will undock from the ISS this Sunday.

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14 September 2000 - 7:15AM EDT - Shuttle mission to the the ISS continues, with Flight Day 7 winding down. The crew had to do a little "brute force" repair yesterday, when they unexpectedly found a bolted plate obstructing one of the voltage regulators they were replacing. The solution? Hammer and chisel! What's next, duct tape?? Live TV interviews this morning at 8:11AM EDT on NASA TV. Flight Day Highlights at 10AM EDT.

Here's the latest Shuttle Status Report.

 

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13 September 2000 - 11:30PM EDT - The 7-man crew of Shuttle Atlantis continue their electrical work and equipment moving, on the International Space Station. NASA reports:

STS-106 Crew Begins Second Day of Work on Station
The STS-106 astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis were awakened just before 7 p.m. Central to begin another day of electrical work and transfer activities as they near the halfway point of docked operations with the International Space Station. With 189 hours, 40 minutes of planned Atlantis-ISS docked time, the halfway point of docked operations will be reached at 11:45 p.m. this evening.
After finishing their post-sleep activities, Commander Terry Wilcutt and his crew - Pilot Scott Altman and Mission Specialists Ed Lu, Rick Mastracchio, Dan Burbank, Yuri Malenchenko and Boris Morukov, will resume the transfer of almost three tons of equipment and supplies from Atlantis and a Russian supply vehicle to the newly expanded Station.
Lu and Malenchenko continued electrical work inside the Zvezda Service Module. Because of weight, Zvezda was launched in July aboard a Russian Proton rocket with only five of its eight batteries. Meanwhile, Cosmonaut Boris Morukov and Astronaut Dan Burbank performed similar tasks inside the Zarya Control Module. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts are also transferring supplies from Atlantis and the Progress cargo ship, preparing the inside of the station for the arrival of its first permanent crew.
Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see continuing coverage of STS-106. Thursday at 7:11 a.m., or 12:11 GMT, Commander Terry Wilcutt and Mission Specialist Dan Burbank will participate in interviews with CNBC's "Squawk Box", ABC's "Good Morning America" and the AP Radio Network.
The NASA TV schedule is available online.

Video clips, including Flight Day 6 highlights, are available at NASA. Live coverage on NASA TV.


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13 September 2000 - 2PM EDT - The STS-106 mission continues, with logistical and electrical work progressing well. NASA reports:

STS-106 Crew Installs Batteries, Continues Transfer of Supplies
From the left, Astronaut Edward Lu and Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko work inside the Zvezda Service Module. They are performing electronics tasks inside a compartment as part of their duties. Image courtesy NASA.
STS-106's five astronauts and two cosmonauts were busy with electronics and the transfer of supplies during Flight Day 6 as they continued to prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of the Expedition 1 crew. Mission Specialists Boris Morukov and Dan Burbank replaced a battery on the Zarya Control Module. They will replace a second battery Wednesday night. Mission Specialists Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu installed three batteries and associated electrical equipment on the Zvezda Service Module.
Because of weight, Zvezda was launched in July aboard a Russian Proton rocket with only five of its eight batteries.
Meanwhile, Commander Terry Wilcutt, Pilot Scott Altman and Mission Specialist Rick Mastracchio continued to transfer supplies and equipment to the station from Space Shuttle Atlantis and a Russian Progress cargo ship docked to Zvezda.

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13 September 2000 - 7AM EDT - The 5 astronauts and 2 cosmonauts of STS-106 continue the installation of batteries and the transfer of cargo into the International Space Station. 

STS-106 to Get Extra Day in Space
Just before Commander Terry Wilcutt and his crew went to bed Tuesday, Mission Control radioed up the news that mission managers had given their approval to an additional day of docked operations for Atlantis' crew and its efforts aboard the International Space Station. The STS-106 crew will now depart the station late Sunday evening just after 10:30 p.m. CDT.
The additional mission day will give Wilcutt, Pilot Scott Altman and Mission Specialists Ed Lu, Rick Mastracchio, Dan Burbank, Yuri Malenchenko and Boris Morukov more time to prepare the orbiting facility for the arrival of the first station crew when it docks to the station in early November.

Did You Know? Mission Commander Terry Wilcutt is a Colonel in the U.S. Marines - but before he joined the Service, he was a high school math teacher! He will be giving an interview this morning at 7:46AM with TV stations from his Kentucky hometown - and we can watch it live on NASA TV.

 

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12 September 2000 - 7:50PM EDT - The crew of Atlantis woke up a few minutes ago, to the tune of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl." Flight Day 6 has lots more "moving in" in store, with the continued transfer of equipment, provisions, and science packages from the Orbiter (and the Progress supply vehicle) to the Station, for November's Expedition 1 crew.

Shuttle Crew Enters Station
The crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis entered the International Space Station [last night]. The STS-106 crewmembers became the first humans to enter the Zvezda Service Module in orbit Tuesday at 12:20 a.m. CDT, or 5:20 GMT. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts will install three new batteries in Zvezda and replace two existing batteries in the Zarya Control Module.
Tuesday, shuttle managers announced that STS-106 has been extended by one day to give the crew more time to transfer supplies from the orbiter and the Progress cargo ship. Atlantis is now scheduled to land Sept. 20 at 3:26 a.m. CDT, or 8:26 GMT.

The additional mission day will bring the total time that Atlantis is docked with the ISS to six days. Video clips, including Flight Day 5 highlights, are available at the Houston Chronicle and at NASA. Live coverage on NASA TV.

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12 September 2000 - STS-106's first crew entry into the ISS is complete. The crew entered the newly expanded space station last night, opening 12 hatches and checking out the interior. They moved 4800 pounds of supplies in from the docked Atlantis orbiter, for the Expedition 1 crew who will begin permanent occupancy in November. NASA reports:

The crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis entered the International Space Station at 9:40 p.m. CDT Monday, or 2:40 GMT Tuesday, when it opened the hatch to the Pressurized Mating Adapter 2. The crew entered all of the station's modules and began preparing the inside of the station for the arrival of its first permanent crew. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts began transferring supplies from Atlantis and the Progress cargo ship. Also, they activated systems on the station's newest module, the Zvezda Service Module.

Shuttle Discovery arrived at Pad 39A on Monday, in preparation for next month's STS-92 flight - the 100th Shuttle mission! NASA reports:

At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., preparations are under way for STS-92, a mission to deliver the Z-1 Truss and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 to the International Space Station. Space Shuttle Discovery left the Vehicle Assembly Building and rolled to Launch Pad 39A on Monday morning. The Z-1 Truss is scheduled to arrive at the launch pad Wednesday for installation into Discovery’s payload bay. The STS-92 flight crew will participate in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test on Sept. 14-15.

 

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11 September 2000 - 11:45PM EDT - The crew of Atlantis have entered the International Space Station a little early - 10:47PM EDT - and are now going into the Zarya module. The Station is orbiting the Earth at 232 statute miles altitude. Flight Day 5 (the third day of docked operations) began at 7:46PM EDT. This evening's Mission Control Center Status Report here. Follow mission progress with Florida Today.

Did you know? Mission Specialist Daniel Burbank is only the second Coast Guardsman to enter the Astronaut Corps (Bruce Melnick was the first). Burbank, an Embry-Riddle alumnus, holds the rank of Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard. Go Coasties!

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11 September 2000 - 7PM EDT - More on the overnight EVA (the 50th in Shuttle history), which saw two spacewalkers clamber up the side of the still-vacant ISS to attach cables between the two Russian components, and install a boom for a magnetometer. This morning's Mission Control Center Status Report here. The Atlantis crew is scheduled to enter the Station tonight at 11:01PM EDT. NASA reports:

Atlantis Crew Completes Space Walk; Will Board Station Tonight
Early this morning Astronaut Ed Lu and Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko completed a six-hour, 14-minute space walk outside the International Space Station after Atlantis docked with the station early Sunday. Lu and Malenchenko attached nine power, data and communication cables to the International Space Station's newest component -- the Zvezda Service Module -- and the Zarya Control Module. Also, they assembled a magnetometer boom on the outside of Zvezda.
Space walkers Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko work outside of the Zvezda Service Module. They are tethered to the space station about 40 meters (130 feet) above Atlantis' payload bay. Photo courtesy NASA.Following the space walk, STS-106 Commander Terry Wilcutt and Pilot Scott Altman fired Space Shuttle Atlantis' thruster jets to perform the first of three one-hour maneuvers to raise the station's orbit.
STS-106 crew members will begin entering the station shortly after 11 p.m. EDT tonight (3:01 GMT Tuesday) to start tasks to ready the outpost for the arrival of the first resident crew--Expedition One--in early November.

Videos, including Flight Day 4 highlights, are available at the Houston Chronicle and at NASA. Live coverage on NASA TV.

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11 September 2000 - 7:30AM EDT - The EVA is complete, clocking in at 6 hours, 14 minutes. All objectives for the spacewalk were accomplished, with crewmembers Lu and Malenchenko installing 9 cables between the Zarya and Zvezda modules, installing a magnetometer on a 6-ft boom, and venturing further from the Orbiter - over 105 feet - than any tethered spacewalkers ever have.

With everyone now back in the Orbiter's cabin, the next mission activity will be a 3-mile orbital boost, with Atlantis firing 36 small pulses over the course of an hour. Live telemetry here. There will be a Mission Status briefing at 8AM EDT. Live coverage on NASA TV. Last night's Mission Control Center Status Report here.


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11 September 2000 - 2:10AM EDT - The 6-hour-and-30-minute EVA is underway, with an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut working outside the ISS. NASA reports:

Astronaut and Cosmonaut Begin Space Walk
STS-106 mission specialists Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko began their space walk at Sunday 11:47 p.m. CDT (or Monday at 4:47 a.m. GMT). During their 6.5-hour space walk, their tasks will include attaching nine power, data and communication cables that will connect the station's newest component, the Zvezda Service Module, to the Zarya Control Module. Also, they will be assembling a magnetometer boom on the outside of Zvezda. The astronauts onboard Atlantis will assist the space walkers by transferring equipment from the orbiter's payload bay to the station using the shuttle's robotic arm.

While Shuttle Atlantis orbits the Earth at 17000MPH, Shuttle Discovery is moving a little more slowly - it has begun its 1MPH trek to the launch pad, and should arrive by sunrise.

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11 September 2000 - 12:30AM EDT - STS-106 crewmembers Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko are scheduled to perform a 6.5-hour spacewalk at 12:51AM EDT. Live coverage on NASA TV. Minute-by-minute journal at Florida Today.

 

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10 September 2000 - 3PM EDT - "Houston, we have capture:" More on last night's successful docking of Atlantis with the ISS. The crew is currently in their sleep period, and will awaken at 7:46PM EDT tonight, to begin Flight Day 4. Morning Mission Control Center Status here. Videos, including Flight Day 3 highlights, are available at the Houston Chronicle and at NASA.

NASA reports:

Space Shuttle Atlantis docked with the International Space Station at 12:51 a.m. CDT, or 5:51 GMT, Sunday. Now the attention of the STS-106 crew and flight controllers has turned toward a 6.5-hour space walk that will be conducted by Mission Specialists Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko, which is scheduled to begin at 12:06 a.m. CDT, or 5:06 GMT, Monday. Their tasks include connecting nine power, data and communication cables between the station's Zvezda Service Module and the Zarya Control Module. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts will enter the space station Monday night.
This view of the International Space Station comes from Atlantis' docking compartment. The station is now comprised of the Unity Module (top), the Russian Zarya Control Module (second from top) and the Zvezda Service Module. Also, at bottom, a Russian Progress cargo module is attached to the aft end of the newly arrived Zvezda. Photo courtesy NASA. The International Space Station is operating in good condition and is ready for the space walk and the delivery of supplies that will occur during STS-106, a mission that will prepare the station for the arrival of its first crew in November. STS-106's five astronauts and two cosmonauts are the first humans to visit the station since the arrival of its third major component, the Zvezda Service Module, in July.
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10 September - 2:10AM EDT - Mission Commander Terry Wilcutt completed a "textbook rendezvous" with the station. Docking rings are retracted, and latches are confirmed locked. The docking mechanism is powering down. Less than 2 hours from now, Colonel Wilcutt and Dr. Ed Lu will take an air sample from the vestibule, which will begin pressurizing within the hour- but astronauts will not enter the Station until Monday morning. Mission Control has declared the Docking Checklist complete, and are returning to the Flight Plan.

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10 September - 1:52AM EDT - Contact & capture CONFIRMED - DOCKING COMPLETE at 1:15:37AM EDT! The Station/Orbiter complex is in "free drift" mode, to allow each other's relative motion to dampen out, and to avoid inadvertent thruster firings.

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10 September - 1:50AM EDT - Range < 10ft,  Post contact maneuver thrusters are armed. Capture light is ON!

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10 September - 1:48AM EDT - Range 20ft,  closing at 1/10th foot per second. Flying over western Europe.

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10 September - 1:45AM EDT - Range 30ft,  closing at 2/100ths foot per second. Docking should be 8 minutes from now.

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10 September - 1:40AM EDT - Range 40ft,  closing at less than 1/10th foot per second.

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10 September - 1:35AM EDT - Range 60ft, flying over western Africa and the Equator. Closing at 1/10th foot per second.

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10 September - 1:30AM EDT - Mission Commander Terry Wilcutt is maneuvering towards the ISS, high above the Earth. Range 110ft. The Unity docking module (Pressurized Mating Adapter) is now clearly visible through the Orbiter's still camera.

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10 September 2000 - 1:15AM EDT - Shuttle Atlantis is approaching the ISS, for a docking over western Kazakhstan. Range 150ft. Watch live video on NASA TV!

 

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9 September 2000 - UPDATE 10PM EDT - Shuttle Atlantis continues its on-orbit operations, prepping for tomorrow's rendezvous with the ISS. NASA reports:

STS-106 Crew Prepares for Docking
The STS-106 crew and Space Shuttle Atlantis have almost reached their objective, the International Space Station. The crew has begun rendezvous operations as it prepares to dock with the station. Atlantis is scheduled to dock with the station at 12:52 a.m. CDT, or 5:52 a.m. GMT, Sunday. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts will be the first humans to visit the station since the arrival of the Zvezda Service Module. While at the station, the crew will perform a 6.5-hour space walk and prepare the station for the arrival of its first permanent crew.

The crew were scheduled to wake up at 6:45PM EDT, beginning Flight Day 3. The ISS docking is scheduled for 1:52AM EDT Sunday morning (Saturday night), but NASA is not saying whether TV coverage will be available. Evening Mission Control Center Status here. Flight Day 2 highlights video (from The Houston Chronicle) here (or at NASA).

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9 September 2000 - Shuttle Atlantis continues its on-orbit operations, preparing for tomorrow's docking procedure with the Space Station. NASA reports:

STS-106 Crew Prepares for Docking
During its first full day in space, the crew of STS-106 prepared for Space Shuttle Atlantis' docking with the International Space Station, which is slated for 12:52 a.m. CDT, or 5:32 GMT, Sunday. Also, the astronauts and cosmonauts checked out the equipment and the spacesuits that will be used in Monday's space walk. Today, flight controllers reported that one of Atlantis' two star trackers has failed. The failure will have no impact on the rendezvous and docking with the station.
At the time of docking on Sunday, the space station and Atlantis will be over western Kazakhstan. They will be located at 49.6 degrees north latitude and 57.1 degrees east longitude.

Overnight, Mission Control requested that the faulty star tracker be powered down, after several attempts to get it working failed. They assure that the remaining one will be sufficient for this flight. Morning Mission Control Center Status here. The Remote Manipulator Arm was powered up, and put though its paces by Mission Specialist Rick Mastracchio.

 

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8 September 2000 - UPDATE 11PM EDT - Atlantis blasted into space right on time today, on the 99th Shuttle mission (the third this year), STS-106. Evening Mission Control Center Status here. KSC photos here. Videos here [requires RealPlayer, available for free] and at NASA.

After a flawless launch at 7:46 this morning, the Space Shuttle Atlantis began its 6600-statute-mile orbital chase to catch the International Space Station where the crew will undertake a full menu of outfitting tasks to prepare the station for its permanent crew. Following the climb to orbit and initial on-orbit activities, the Mission Control Center has settled into working normal operations without any significant issues.
During their first full day in space the crew will prepare for Sunday's rendezvous and docking with the station and Monday's early-morning space walk by astronaut Ed Lu and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.
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8 September - UPDATE 8PM EDT - Atlantis is in orbit! A "picture-perfect" launch went off without a hitch, from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. It was a busy day for NASA webmasters! Let's go back through the day's events [all photos courtesy of NASA]:

Friday, 8PM EDT (Marshall Space Flight Center)

Shuttle Atlantis launch successful Friday
Space Shuttle Atlantis launches Friday (Photo: NASA) Space Shuttle Atlantis headed to the International Space Station on Friday after a successful 8:45 a.m. EDT launch. Docking with the Station is scheduled Sunday. Atlantis is carrying two Marshall-sponsored microgravity experiments to the Space Station. The Marshall Center is responsible for the Shuttle’s Main Engines, External Tank, Solid Rocket Motors and Solid Rocket Boosters.


Friday, 3PM EDT

Atlantis to Dock with Space Station on Sunday
The crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis is on its way to the International Space Station. Docking is scheduled for shortly before 2 a.m. EDT Sunday, the third day of the 11-day mission. The primary job of the crew--Commander Terry Wilcutt, Pilot Scott Altman and Mission Specialists Ed Lu, Rick Mastracchio, Dan Burbank, Yuri Malenchenko and Boris Morukov--is to unload cargo and supplies in preparation for arrival of the first resident crew--Expedition One--in early November. They will also conduct a spacewalk and several experiments. You can watch mission activities live on NASA Television and on your computer.


Friday, 1PM EDT - with Shuttle Status Report

Space Shuttle Atlantis launches from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 7:46 a.m. CDT Sept. 8 to begin STS-106. Atlantis and its five astronauts and two cosmonauts will prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of its first permanent crew. Space Shuttle Atlantis blasts off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Atlantis and its seven-member crew are on their way to prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of its first permanent crew. Atlantis is now in orbit and the payload bay doors are open.

CNN: Shuttle blasts off on mission to make space Station "a home".



Friday, mid-morning - with first Mission Control Center Status

Image of space shuttle liftoff - Courtesy NASASpace Shuttle Atlantis lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center, FL, this morning sending its crew on an 11-day mission to the International Space Station. The American and Russian crew will dock with the Station and transfer supplies and other equipment to the orbiting outpost in preparation for the arrival of the first permanent habitation crew, scheduled to arrive in November. One spacewalk is planned to install a six-foot long magnetometer and a boom that will serve as a three-dimensional "compass" for the station, and connect telemetry, electrical, and communications cables. 


Friday, 9AM

At 7:46 CDT, or 12:46 GMT, Space Shuttle Atlantis and its seven-member crew launched from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. STS-106 is now on its way to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station on Sept. 10. While at the station, the five astronauts and two cosmonauts will prepare the station for the arrival of its first permanent crew, which is slated for early November. Atlantis is scheduled to open its payload bay doors today at 9:10 a.m. CDT, or 14:10 GMT.

CNN: Shuttle embarks on mission to outfit space station

Friday, early morning - with NASA press release.

A new era in human space flight begins with the launch of STS-106, a mission to the International Space Station. The five astronauts and two cosmonauts aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis will begin preparations necessary to declare the international outpost open for business. While at the station, the crew will conduct a 6.5-hour space walk and unload supplies, unpack gear and hook up equipment in preparation for the arrival of the station's first crew, Expedition 1.


Friday, early, early morning - with last night's Shuttle Status Report

Launch preparations for STS-106, a mission to prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of its first permanent crew, remain on track. The STS-106 flight crew was loaded onboard Atlantis at 5 a.m. CDT or, 10 GMT, and the hatch was closed by 5:40 a.m. CDT, or 10:40 GMT. Forecasts for today's scheduled launch at 7:46 a.m. CDT, or 12:46 GMT, indicate a 60-percent chance of favorable weather.

CNN: Atlantis fuels up; weather may scuttle launch.

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8 September - Launch Day! Atlantis is due to lift off this morning at 8:45AM EDT, but weather is a concern. NASA gives us flight details:

When Atlantis launches Friday morning, the space station will be orbiting the Earth over Southwest Hungary near the Croatian Border. The station will be at 46.34 degrees north latitude and 17.59 degrees east longitude, which will place it 10,622 kilometers (6,600 miles) in front of the shuttle.

Watch the launch live on NASA TV! (Check schedule here). Check out Florida Today's up-to-the-minute launch journal, and Space.com's live coverage. CNN has an STS-106 mission guide, and CBS is following closely, too. NASA's countdown page is here. Pre-flight video clips available from NASA. Check back with us tonight for Flight Day highlights!

 

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7 September 2000 - More on Tuesday's lightning strike at the Shuttle launch padKSC reports that the lightning arrestor system (a 100-ft-tall mast) did its job, and no equipment was damaged - unlike the Monday hit at the runway, which damaged a navigation system (which was quickly repaired). Atlantis continued fueling yesterday, despite concerns over weather conditions at the launch site.

Here is tonight's Shuttle Status Report. NASA assures "All Systems Go for Shuttle Launch Friday Morning":

Friday's launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis begins an odyssey unique in the history of human space flight. If all goes as planned, at 8:45 a.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 8, five American astronauts and two Russian cosmonauts will soar into orbit and begin preparations necessary to declare the International Space Station -- the largest building in space -- open for business. Space Shuttle mission STS-106 includes a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk by Astronaut Ed Lu and Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko to a point 100 feet above the Shuttle's cargo bay, the farthest any tethered spacewalker has ever ventured.
Watch streaming video on NASA TV to see the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis Friday at 7:45 a.m. CDT [8:45AM Eastern]. NASA TV's coverage begins at 2:30 a.m. CDT [3:30AM Eastern]. The NASA TV schedule is available online.

 

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6 September 2000 - Lightning strikes the launch pad! No damage described. Shuttle Status report here. NASA states:

Launch preparations for STS-106, a mission to prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of its first permanent crew, remain on track. The Lightning Protection System at Launch Pad 39B was struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon. The system did its job and no shuttle or ground support systems were damaged. The weather did cause a delay in routine work at the Pad. Wednesday, workers began loading fuel into Space Shuttle Atlantis at 11 a.m. CDT. Preliminary forecasts for Friday's scheduled launch at 7:45 a.m. CDT indicate a 60-percent chance of favorable weather.

KSC also reported on this week's arrival of the Atlantis astronauts, who will leave the ISS empty for one of the last times:

An enthusiastic STS-106 astronaut crew flew into Kennedy Space Center aboard T-38 jets at about 8:00 p.m. EDT on Labor Day to make final preparations for their launch. The STS-106 mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for launch aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on Friday, Sept. 8 at 8:45 a.m. EDT. The countdown to launch began at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at the T-43 hour mark. View the launch live!.....

When the first occupants of the ISS finally arrive next month, they expect to find some problems. That's life in orbit!

 

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5 September 2000 - The countdown clock officially started today for this week's flight of Shuttle Atlantis. Shuttle Status report here. NASA states:

At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., preparations continue to go well for the launch of STS-106, which will be the fourth shuttle mission to the International Space Station. Tuesday morning, the launch countdown began for STS-106, a mission to prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of its first permanent crew. The Kennedy Space Center, Fla., launch team is making final preparations for Friday morning's launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, which is scheduled for 7:45 CDT. The seven-member STS-106 crew arrived at KSC Monday night. According to preliminary weather forecasts there is a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for Friday morning's launch.

 

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4 September 2000 - Happy Labor Day! Now that the ISS is ready for long-term habitation, NASA is is getting ready for a series of Shuttle launches to the Station. Three launches remain for this year, with more in quick succession for years to come.

 

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3 September 2000 - The countdown for the launch of Shuttle Atlantis - on mission STS-106 - begins this Tuesday (5 Sep 2000). NASA has loaded three clean, safe EVA spacesuits (which were discovered to be at risk of fire due to an oily residue in the emergency oxygen system) aboard Atlantis.

Lots of photos at Florida Today.

 

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2 September 2000 - Shuttle Discovery, set to launch next month, will remain in the gigantic Vehicle Assemble Building until after Atlantis' launch next week. This will keep the spacecraft safe during Florida's unpredictable hurricane season.

NASA has announced the event schedule for the STS-106 mission to the International Space Station, set to launch on 8 Sep 2000.

 

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1 September 2000 - NASA is prepping Atlantis for next week's launch. Shuttle Status report here.

At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., preparations continue for STS-106, a mission that will deliver supplies and outfit the International Space Station in preparation for the arrival of the Expedition 1 crew. Workers finished solid rocket booster closeouts on Space Shuttle Atlantis and installed the explosive bolts at Launch Pad 39B. Wednesday, the space walk spacesuits were installed into the Atlantis. Also, the orbiter's payload bay doors were closed Wednesday night. The STS-106 flight crew is scheduled to arrive at Kennedy Space Center on Monday, and the launch countdown is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. CDT Tuesday.

Boeing announced that the next ISS component, the Destiny module, has passed an Acceptance Review Board at NASA KSC.

 

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