STS-86 Day 3 Highlights
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- On Saturday, September 27, 1997, 8:00 a.m. CDT, STS-86 MCC Status Report # 4
- The seven astronauts on board Atlantis are preparing for this
afternoon's docking with the Mir Space Station and a reunion with
American Astronaut Mike Foale, who is about to conclude his four-month
mission to the Russian outpost.
- The STS-86 crew - Commander Jim Wetherbee, Pilot Mike Bloomfield,
and Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski, Vladimir Titov, Jean-Loup
Chretien, Wendy Lawrence and Dave Wolf - are powering up and
installing many of the rendezvous aids they will use later today
during the final phase of their approach to Mir. Wolf and Chretien
will activate the VHF radio that the astronauts and cosmonauts will
use to communicate with each other during the rendezvous activities.
Chretien, who speaks fluent Russian, will handle those communications
- This morning, Wetherbee and Bloomfield will conduct another in a
series of engine firings which are designed to refine Atlantis'
approach to Mir. Shortly after 12:30 p.m. central time, they will
perform the terminal initiation burn which will place Atlantis on an
intercept course to Mir, and about 2 p.m. Atlantis should be about
2,500 feet beneath Mir, ready to begin its final approach.
- With his crew mates providing range rate and closure data obtained
from a variety of tools on board, Wetherbee will manually fly Atlantis
up toward Mir with contact and capture between the two vehicles
expected about 2:55 p.m. About an hour and a half later, the hatches
between the two vehicles should swing open allowing Wetherbee and Mir
Commander Anatoly Solovyev to greet each other.
- The transfer of Wolf's custom-made Soyuz seatliner to the Mir on
Sunday morning will mark the start of his tenure as a Mir crewmember,
and conclude Foale's stay.
- Yesterday, the astronauts began filling containers, referred to as
CWC's, with water for transfer to the Mir. Three bags, with a weight
of about 282 pounds, have been filled and a fourth water bag fill is
expected to be complete by the time Atlantis docks with Mir.
- On Saturday, September 27, 1997, 8:45 p.m. CDT, STS-86 MCC Status Report # 5
- For the seventh time in two years, the Shuttle Atlantis gently docked
with the Russian Mir Space Station this afternoon, bringing ten
astronauts and cosmonauts together for six days of joint docked
- Operating from Atlantis' aft flight deck, Commander Jim Wetherbee
guided Atlantis to a smooth docking with the Mir at 2:58 p.m. Central
time as the two vehicles flew north of the Caspian Sea east of the
Russian-Kazakh border at an altitude of about 215 nautical miles.
- The successful docking culminated a textbook rendezvous by
Wetherbee, who commanded a flight more than two years ago in which
Discovery rehearsed rendezvous techniques by flying to within 37 feet
of the Mir. All of the Russian outpost's systems functioned normally
during today's rendezvous and docking.
- Less than two hours later, at 4:45 p.m., Wetherbee and Mir Commander
Anatoly Solovyev opened their respective spacecraft's hatches and
shook hands, Wetherbee handing Solovyev a new computer for the Mir
which was brought into orbit by Atlantis for installation following
the docked phase of the mission. The ten crewmembers spent a few
minutes greeting one another at the start of their joint work which
will involve the transfer of some four tons of logistical supplies and
water from Atlantis to the Mir.
- The crewmembers planned to conduct a routine vehicle systems safety
briefing after a joint meal before beginning their respective sleep
periods later tonight. The transfer activities are scheduled to begin
in earnest on Sunday morning, at the same time astronaut David Wolf
formally becomes a member of the Mir crew following the transfer of
his custom-made Soyuz seatliner from Atlantis to the Mir. Astronaut
Mike Foale, who has been a Mir crewmember since May 18th, will become
a Shuttle crewmember at that point.
- No problems were encountered during the final phase of Atlantis'
approach to the Mir. Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski reported the
first visual sighting of the Russian complex while Atlantis was at a
distance of 36 miles from the Mir, just under four hours before the
- The Mir cosmonauts will begin a nine hour sleep period at 8:30
p.m. Central time tonight, two hours before Atlantis' astronauts begin
an eight-hour sleep period.
- The Atlantis-Mir space complex is orbiting the Earth at an altitude
of about 215 nautical miles with both spacecraft's systems operating
in excellent shape.
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