Status Report

ISS Status Report #49 – 3 Dec 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
December 3, 2001
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Expedition Three Pilot Vladimir Dezhurov and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin
cleared the way for the launch of the shuttle Endeavour tomorrow afternoon
by removing debris in the form of a rubberized seal from the docking
interface between a Russian Progress resupply craft and the Zvezda Service
Module at the International Space Station.

With Commander Frank Culbertson watching from inside, Dezhurov and Tyurin
worked swiftly to clear the debris during a 2-hour, 46-minute spacewalk, the
fourth of the expedition and the 30th devoted to ISS assembly and
maintenance. With the seal removed, Russian flight controllers commanded the
Progress’ docking probe to retract fully, and a hard mate between the two
craft was completed at 8:54 a.m. CST. Progress had initially docked with
Zvezda last Wednesday, but hooks and latches between the craft failed to
fully engage because of the debris, apparently left on the docking interface
when an old Progress resupply vehicle was jettisoned on Nov. 22.

Dezhurov, who was making the 9th spacewalk of his career, and Tyurin, who
was conducting the 3rd spacewalk in his first flight into space, exited the
Pirs Docking Compartment at 7:20 a.m. CST with one goal in mind — clearing
the obstruction which prevented the Progress from completing a hard docking
and a tight seal with Zvezda last Wednesday at the completion of a two-day
free flight following its launch. The docking problem postponed last week’s
launch of Endeavour to bring the new residents — the Expedition Four
crew — to the ISS.

Once they made their way to the aft end of Zvezda, Dezhurov used a tool to
cut the seal, which then was easily stripped away from the circumference of
the aft docking port of the Service Module. With the debris removed, Russian
flight controllers initiated the mating of Progress and Zvezda, completing
the repair effort. With their work completed, Dezhurov and Tyurin took a
number of pictures of the debris and the docking interface between Progress
and Zvezda, and returned to Pirs, closing the hatch at 10:06 a.m. CST.

The spacewalk now sets the stage for Endeavour’s launch at 4:45 p.m. CST
Tuesday on an 11-day mission to deliver the next trio of residents to the
ISS as well as several tons of equipment and food. The launch was delayed
from last Thursday to enable Russian flight controllers to plan for the
contingency spacewalk. Endeavour’s launch is scheduled on the third
anniversary of its launch in 1998 on the first ISS assembly flight which
mated the Unity connecting node to the Zarya Control Module.

The International Space Station is orbiting at an average altitude of 247
statute miles (397 km). For the latest information on launch dates and
times, as well as sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, visit
the Web at:

Human physiology experiments continue to be a focus of crew science
activities as the crew prepares for its return home. Autonomous microgravity
materials research continued to accumulate scientific experiment run time
hours in a variety of disciplines. Overall coordination of the research is
the responsibility of the Payload Operations Center at NASA’s Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Human Research Facility is managed by
the Johnson Space Center. Details on station science operations can be found
on the Web at:

The next ISS status report will be incorporated into the STS-108 mission
status reports after launch, or earlier, as developments warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.