Status Report

STS-105 Status Report #21 – 20 Aug 2001 – 6:00 PM CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
August 20, 2001
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astronauts, now consisting of the Expedition Two crew, bid farewell

to the International Space Station and the Expedition Three crew and

undocked from the complex at 9:52 a.m. CDT Monday after more than a

week of joint operations. Frank Culbertson, Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail

Tyurin now will settle in to oversee activities on the station for the

next four months.

The final farewells

and hatch closing occurred at 7 a.m. Central Monday just prior to closing

the hatches and conducting leak checks between the two vehicles. Under

control of Pilot Rick Sturckow, Discovery gently backed away from the

station to a distance of about 450 feet. At that point, Sturckow performed

a fly-around of the complex allowing for photo documentation and a final

look by Yury Usachev, Jim Voss and Susan Helms at their home for the

past five and a half months.

Returning with

Discovery is the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module that brought

equipment, supplies and two scientific racks to the station. It is returning

to Earth with more than a ton of equipment, experiments, personal effects

and unneeded hardware.

Also today, Discovery’s

crewmembers deployed a small science satellite called Simplesat, designed

to evaluate the use of inexpensive commercially available hardware in

space. It is designed to demonstrate Global Positioning System attitude

control and pointing in free flight. It was spring-ejected from a canister

at the rear of the Shuttle’s cargo bay.

Tuesday is a day

devoted to packing up the orbiter and checking its landing systems for

the planned return to the Kennedy Space Center Wednesday. Landing is

set for just before Noon Central time with weather conditions expected

to be favorable with light winds and only a slight chance of rain predicted

in the area.

Meanwhile, on the

steppe of the Kazak desert, a Soyuz rocket is poised to launch an unmanned

Progress supply ship to the station tomorrow at 4:24 a.m. Central time.

It is the fifth Progress to be launched to the station, and is scheduled

to dock a little after 5 a.m. Thursday, the day after the current Progress

attached to the ISS is undocked from the rear of the Zvezda module to

burn up in the atmosphere.

The two spacecraft

are at slightly different orbits, circling the Earth every 90 minutes.

All systems are in excellent shape. The next mission status report will

be issued at around 6 a.m. Tuesday, or earlier, if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.