STS-86 Day 9 Highlights
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- On Friday, October 3, 1997, 8:00 a.m. CDT, STS-86 MCC Status Report # 16
- Atlantis is prepared to depart the Mir space station today following
six days of joint operations between the STS-86 and Mir 24
crews. Atlantis is scheduled to undock from the Mir today at 10:43
a.m. Central time while the two vehicles are passing just East of the
Caspian Sea over Turkmenistan.
- Pilot Mike Bloomfield will back Atlantis away to a distance of about
600 feet below and in front of Atlantis to test navigation sensors,
before once again closing in toward the Mir to a distance of 240
feet. He will stationkeep at that range for an hour waiting for
sunrise, before beginning a 46-minute fly-around of the Russian
station. During the fly-around, Atlantis' astronauts will conduct
visual inspections of the Mir station and use a variety of cameras
equipped with high-powered lenses and video equipment for
documentation of the Spektr module.
- At several points during the fly-around, Mir Commander Anatoly
Solovyev and Flight Engineer Pavel Vinogradov will open a pressure
regulation valve in the Mir to pulse air into the depressurized
Spektr. Russian flight controllers hope Atlantis' astronauts may
detect some seepage of particles or debris from the breach in the hull
of Spektr which will assist them in the future planning of repairs to
- Once the fly-around is complete, Bloomfield will conduct a final
separation maneuver from the Mir at 1:43 p.m. Central time, bidding
the Mir farewell and leaving behind Astronaut Dave Wolf.
- Early this morning, the Mir crew began replacing an onboard command
exchange unit, which acts as a relay between Mir's main motion control
computer and the Kvant module's gyrodynes and Kurs antenna. Mir's
attitude control gyrodynes will not be spun down for this activity,
which will begin at 6:34 a.m. central time and is expected to take two
and one-half hours. The replacement will be followed by a brief
checkout of the command unit's systems and if all systems are
functioning, the work should be complete about one hour prior to
- Undocking could be delayed by two orbits, or until about 2
p.m. central time, in the event problems are encountered and the Mir
crew has to reinstall the existing command exchange unit. While that
relay box has been working perfectly in recent weeks and throughout
docked operations, it had issued independent commands in the past, and
Russian flight controllers elected to install the new unit to provide
them with increased confidence in their attitude control capability.
The system will be checked out by issuing commands to the inactive
Kvant-2 gyrodyne and to the Kurs antenna which is used for automated
- Once Atlantis' crew has departed from Mir, they will enjoy some off
duty time for the remainder of their day on orbit, before beginning a
scheduled eight-hour sleep period at 10:34 p.m.
- On Friday, October 3, 1997, 6:30 p.m. CDT, STS-86 MCC Status Report # 17
- After executing a textbook fly-around to view damaged areas of the
Spektr module on the Mir Space Station, Atlantis' astronauts separated
from the Russian complex this afternoon, leaving behind U.S. Astronaut
Dave Wolf and tons of logistical supplies and water for the next four
months of scientific research.
- Atlantis undocked from the Mir one orbit later than originally
planned, at 12:28 p.m. CDT, as the two vehicles flew over southeast
Russia just north of Mongolia. The delay in undocking was the result
of a request by Russian flight controllers to enable the Mir
cosmonauts to finish installing and testing a new data relay unit in
the Kvant-1 module. The relay unit is designed to transmit commands
from Mir's new central computer to Kvant for operation of its
automatic attitude control devices and its navigation antenna, which
is used for automatic dockings of Progress resupply vehicles.
- Pilot Mike Bloomfield flew Atlantis to a point 600 feet beneath and
in front of the Russian station to gather data from a European Space
Agency navigation sensor in the shuttle's cargo bay. Bloomfield then
brought Atlantis back to a point just 240 feet from Mir where he began
his fly-around of the station.
- Aboard Mir, Commander Anatoly Solovyev opened a pressure valve in
the station's node, blowing air into the depressurized Spektr
module. Mission Specialist Vladimir Titov aboard Atlantis and Flight
Engineer Pavel Vinogradov aboard Mir both reported seeing particles
seeping from the base of the damaged solar array on Spektr. Russian
flight controllers suspect it is the most likely location for a hull
breach as the result of a June 25 collision of a Progress vehicle with
- A second pulse of air into Spektr 20 minutes later was less
conclusive, as Titov and Solovyev reported seeing only one particle
drifting from an unspecified area near Spektr.
- With the visual inspection of Spektr complete, Bloomfield fired
Atlantis' jets to separate from the Mir for the final time at 3:16
p.m. CDT. The astronauts then settled down to several hours of
off-duty time to relax following six days of joint docked
operations. A second orbital adjust burn later in the afternoon open
the separation rate to more than 100 miles per orbit. At 6:30
p.m. Atlantis was below and approximately 105 miles ahead of Mir.
- Atlantis astronauts are due to begin their sleep period at 10:34
p.m., waking at 6:34 a.m. Saturday for entry preparations. Bloomfield
and Commander Jim Wetherbee will conduct a flight control system
checkout at 10:34 a.m. followed by a hot-fire test of the reaction
control system at 11:44 a.m. CDT.
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