Status Report

STS-102 Status Report #22 – 18 Mar 2001 – 7:00 PM CST

By SpaceRef Editor
March 18, 2001
Filed under ,

Discovery’s crew – including the first crew of the International Space Station now returning home after four
and a half months in orbit – bids farewell to the second station crew tonight, undocking the shuttle from the
outpost and preparing for a return to Earth Tuesday.

The hatches between the shuttle and station were to be closed for a final time at about 7:30 tonight,
leaving Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and his Flight Engineers, astronauts Jim Voss and
Susan Helms, aboard the complex. The second crew is beginning a four-month stay aboard the station that
will see the complex continue to grow in research capability and self-sufficiency as a robotic arm, more
experiments and a new airlock are attached on future missions.

The first station expedition crew – led by Commander Bill Shepherd with Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight
Engineer Sergei Krikalev – is returning home after having brought the complex to life during its stay. The
Expedition One crew docked to an uninhabited station that was about half the size and had only a fraction
of the capability of the orbiting science complex and permanent home they are departing. The crews bid
one another farewell about an hour before the hatch closing.

“We are on a true space ‘ship’ now, making her way above any Earthly boundary,” Shepherd said as he
handed command to Usachev.

“This ship was not built in a safe harbor but on the high seas,” Discovery Commander Jim Wetherbee added.

During the almost nine days Discovery has been docked at the station, the crews unloaded almost five tons
of experiments and equipment and repacked almost a ton of returning items. Discovery’s mission also has
set the stage for the continued expansion of the station when a Canadian robotic arm is launched aboard
the shuttle Endeavour next month. Pilot Jim Kelly will be at the shuttle’s helm as Discovery undocks from the
station tonight, planned to occur at 10:32 p.m. Kelly will guide Discovery in an hour-long station flyaround
where he will circle the station one and a quarter times, 450 feet away, while the crew records television and
photos of the exterior.

The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued early Monday morning.

SpaceRef staff editor.