STS-79 Day 4 Highlights
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- On Thursday, September 19, 1996, 7:00 a.m. CDT, STS-79 MCC Status Report # 7
- Atlantis and the Mir Space Station are joined together for the fourth
time following an on-time docking at 10:13 Central time last night.
After two hours of pressure and leak checks, the hatches between the
two spacecraft were opened at 12:40 a.m. Central time and the two
crews greeted one another to begin five days of joint operations.
- The rendezvous and docking went flawlessly as Atlantis' Commander Bill
Readdy flew the orbiter manually through the final 2,000 feet.
Docking occurred within seconds of the pre-planned time and flight
controllers reported that only slight oscillations were felt through
the Orbiter Docking System as the two spacecraft locked
together. Within hours of the hatch opening, crew members John Blaha
and Shannon Lucid formally swapped places before going to bed with
Blaha becoming a member of the Mir-22 crew and Lucid joining the
STS-79 crew to wrap up 179 days as a member of the Mir station.
- The official time of the crew exchange was recorded at 6 a.m. Central
time, at the point which Blaha brought a custom-made Soyuz seatliner
over to the Mir from Atlantis for installation in the Russian
capsule. Blaha would return to Earth in the Soyuz in the event of a
contingency aboard the Mir which would require the crew to abandon the
- Blaha joins Mir 22 Commander Valery Korzun and Flight Engineer
Alexander Kaleri on Mir for the next four months. He will be replaced
by Astronaut Jerry Linenger, scheduled to arrive on Atlantis' next
visit scheduled for early January 1997 on mission STS-81.
- Soon after the crew members completed their welcoming ceremony, they
went to work, hauling bags of water and other supplies from the
Shuttle's SPACEHAB module into the Mir. More than 4000 pounds of
equipment and logistical supplies will be transferred to the Mir
before Atlantis undocks from the space outpost next Monday night.
- Atlantis is scheduled to return home on September 26 with Lucid having
logged 188 days in orbit, a U.S. endurance record and a record for
the longest single spaceflight by a woman.
- On Thursday, September 19, 1996, 6:00 p.m. CDT, STS-79 MCC Status Report # 8
- The combined Atlantis and Mir Space Station crews will begin their
first full day of docked operations this evening following yesterday's
successful on-time docking and exchange of crew members Shannon Lucid
and John Blaha.
- Overnight, scientists on the ground continued work with the Active
Rack Isolation System in the SPACEHAB module, completing several
successful tests. The system is a prototype of a device that will be
used to dampen crew motion and engine firings to protect the
microgravity environment on the International Space Station.
- All nine astronauts and cosmonauts will begin their day with a joint
- Atlantis Commander Bill Readdy and Mir Commander Valery Korzun will
oversee the continuing transfer of water bags and supplies from the
shuttle's SPACEHAB module into Mir. More than 4,000 pounds of
equipment and logistical supplies will be transferred to Mir, and some
2,000 pounds of experiment samples and equipment will be moved from
Mir to Atlantis for return to Earth.
- Mission Specialist Carl Walz will activate the Mechanics of Granular
Materials (MGM) experiment, which seeks to study what happens to
granular materials under low stress. The MGM research could lead to
improved selection and preparation of building sites in
earthquake-prone areas, and in the study of erosion, mining and
- Walz and Mission Specialist Jay Apt will remove the Biotechnology
Engineering Development Unit, a biotechnology sampling device, from
Spacehab and transfer it to Mir's Priroda module for use by Blaha
during his four-months of research aboard Mir. Later, Blaha and Mir
Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri will set up the experiment in
Priroda. Blaha and Kaleri also will transfer a Commercial Generic
Bioprocessing Apparatus to Priroda.
- At 5:14 a.m. CDT, Lucid and Blaha will participate in a 15-minute
interview with Good Morning America's Elizabeth Vargas. Throughout the
day, Lucid will continue the hand-over of her Mir responsibilities to
Blaha, who will serve as Mir 22 Flight Engineer 2 for four months.
- Walz and Kaleri will transfer an IMAX large-format camera from
Atlantis to Mir and set it up on the Spektr module. Film shot with the
IMAX camera will be used in an upcoming feature about the Phase 1
Program of shuttle-Mir dockings.
- Also today, during routine post-retrieval disassembly and inspection
of Atlantis' solid rocket boosters, a 5- inch long 7/16ths combination
wrench was found loose inside the forward skirt of the right SRB. A
contractor-led anomaly investigation team with NASA participation is
gathering further information regarding processing and close-out of
the forward skirt as well as additional inspection and analysis of the
flight hardware. However, the initial visual inspection did not reveal
any sign of physical damage, and the operation of the SRB was normal.
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