STS-81 Day 10 Highlights
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- On Tuesday, January 21, 1997, 6:00 a.m. CST, STS-81 MCC Status Report # 19
- Atlantis' astronauts are readying for their planned return to Earth
tomorrow, having tested the Shuttle's key flight control systems for
entry and landing.
- Commander Mike Baker and Pilot Brent Jett activated one of Atlantis'
three hydraulic power units last night, successfully exercising the
Shuttle's aerosurfaces. Baker and Jett then fired Atlantis' steering
jets in a routine prelanding checkout. One of the steering jets
failed, but there are redundant systems and the failed jet will not
impact a safe landing.
- The astronauts also tested a medical restraint system in the SPACEHAB
module, placing two crewmembers in the device. The device may be used
on the International Space Station to move an ill or injured astronaut
from one module to another.
- Crew members then began to stow items away in their crew cabin before
the scheduled deactivation of SPACEHAB systems and associated
hardware. Cabin stowage is expected to be completed before the crew's
sleep period begins early this afternoon.
- On the eve of his return to Earth after four months in orbit, Blaha
discussed his research flight on the Russian Space Station Mir with
four engineers in a Johnson Space Center test chamber. The engineers
are involved in a 60-day analysis of regenerative life support
systems. Such support systems may be used in future spacecraft
involved in interplanetary travel. Before sleep Blaha will install a
special seat in the middeck where he will sit for landing to make his
readaptation to Earth's gravity more comfortable. A landing tomorrow
will culminate in 128 days in space for Blaha, 118 of which he spent
- Aboard Mir, U.S. astronaut Jerry Linenger unpacked his gear,
acclimating himself to his new orbital home. He'll start his
scientific experiments in earnest later this week.
- There are two landing opportunities for Atlantis tomorrow at the
Kennedy Space Center. The first involves a deorbit burn at 5:42
a.m. CST which will enable Atlantis to drop out of orbit for a 6:47
a.m. landing on runway 3-3. A backup opportunity also is available 90
minutes later. Edwards Air Force Base in California is not expected to
be called up for landing support on Wednesday.
- The early weather forecast calls for mostly favorable conditions for a
KSC landing with scattered and broken clouds predicted and possible
patchy ground fog.
- Atlantis is orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 217 statute
miles. The astronauts' sleep period begins at 12:27 p.m. They will be
awakened at 9:27 p.m. to begin landing preparations.
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