STS-98 Mission Journal

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Blast off to the International Space Station Mission Journal!

STS-98 crew portrait, courtesy of NASA. (Front row, L-R) Pilot Mark Polansky, and Commander Kenneth Cockrell.
(Back row, L-R) Mission Specialists Robert Curbeam, Marsha Ivins and Thomas Jones.

Shuttle Atlantis lands Sunday from mission STS-98 to Space Station Alpha!

STS-98 Insignia, courtesy of NASA.


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20 February 2001 - Evening Update - Welcome Home Atlantis!! NASA reports:

Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands in California
NASA image of STS-98 landing at Edwards AFB.Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to wrap up STS-98, a successful mission to the International Space Station. Atlantis touched down at 2:33 p.m. CST (20:33 GMT). The five STS-98 astronauts spent almost 13 days in space. While at the space station, they installed the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module, relocated a docking port, delivered supplies and equipment to the Expedition One crew, and conducted three successful space walks. In addition to providing the cornerstone for scientific research aboard ISS, the lab houses computers that will control the Space Station's attitude.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis landed safely ... in California today after mission controllers decided that thick clouds might interfere with a safe landing at the Kennedy Space Center. Watch NASA TV to see post-flight coverage of STS-98. NASA TV Schedule

The first two opportunities, at KSC, were waved off due to weather conditions at the Florida space base (cloud cover was the culprit this time, unlike the crosswinds that thwarted the previous two days' landing attempts). Perfect weather at California's Edwards AFB made a west-coast landing a no-brainer. Of course, now it will cost anywhere from $700K to a cool million to ship the spacecraft back east, piggybacked on NASA's special 747 jetliner. The crew will return to their homes in Texas tomorrow.

The latest Shuttle Status Report (ground processing) is here. Landing video here.


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20 February - Afternoon Update - WAVE OFF! NASA reports:

Controllers Pass on First Opportunity
Space Shuttle Atlantis will stay in space for at least one more orbit. Flight Controllers decided to not use STS-98's first landing opportunity for today due to cloud cover. Atlantis would have touched down at about 11:27 a.m. CST. Also, controllers waved the first opportunity at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico. Now, flight controllers and weather forecasters will focus on the next landing opportunity, which is at 1:02 p.m. CST at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. If this opportunity receives the go-ahead, Atlantis' deorbit burn will occur at 11:56 a.m. CST. Four more opportunities are also available to STS-98 today. There are two at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and two more at White Sands.

If the weather violations continue at KSC, mission managers may decide on a west-coast landing.


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20 February 2001 - Landing Day - Atlantis is due to land at KSC today at 12:27PM EST. Three other opportunities are available this afternoon - check times here. The weather at the Cape  has caused the mission to be extended by two days. NASA reports:

STS-98 Crew Return
JSC employees, contractors, friends, family members and public guests are invited to welcome home the STS-98 crew on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 4:30 p.m. at Hangar 990, Ellington Field. The STS-98 crew is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Tuesday, Feb. 20 before returning to Houston on Wednesday. If the KSC landing is delayed, please call the JSC employee information service at Ext. 36765 for the updated crew return schedule.
Watch NASA TV to see continuing coverage of STS-98. NASA TV Schedule / Press Kit / Landing Ground Tracks

The Shuttle is returning from a successful mission to install a fourth module onto the International Space Station. Check NASA TV for live video of the landing. Follow the play-by-play at Florida Today and Spaceflight Now!

 

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19 February 2001 - Afternoon Update - Today is a wash as far as landing attempts - gusty winds are postponing the Shuttle's return for another day. NASA reports:

STS-98 to Stay in Orbit One More Day, to Focus on Landing Tuesday
Space Shuttle Atlantis as seen from the International Space Station. NASA image.
At 12:13 p.m. CST (18:13 GMT), flight controllers waved off STS-98's three-remaining landing opportunities for Monday due to high crosswinds and cloud cover at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Four landing opportunities -- two at Kennedy and two at Edwards -- are available for Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five-member crew on Tuesday.
The first opportunity on Tuesday calls for a deorbit burn at 10:20 a.m. CST (16:20 GMT) and landing at 11:27 a.m. CST (17:27 GMT) at Kennedy. Flight controllers and weather forecasters will continue to monitor the situation. When STS-98 does land, it will mark the end of a successful mission to deliver the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module to the International Space Station.

Tomorrow will bring two landing opportunities each at KSC and Edwards AFB.


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19 February - Noon Update - High winds are scrubbing the first landing opportunity. Atlantis will remain in orbit until this afternoon. NASA reports:

Weather Causes Today's First Landing Opportunity to be Waved
At about 10:30 a.m. CST (16:30 GMT), flight controllers waved off Space Shuttle Atlantis' first landing opportunity of the day due to high crosswinds and cloud cover at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The first opportunity was slated for 12:27 p.m. CST (18:27 GMT). The next opportunity available at Kennedy is at 2:04 p.m. CST (20:04 GMT). If the nod is given for this opportunity, the deorbit burn will occur at 12:58 p.m. CST (18:58 GMT). Atlantis also has two landing opportunities in California at Edwards Air Force Base, but weather forecasts indicate that it will be highly unlikely that conditions will be favorable for a touchdown there today or Tuesday.
Weather forecasters and flight controllers will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day. The STS-98 Landing Ground Tracks for Monday are available. Answers for Ask the Crew and Ask the MCC questions are available.

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19 February 2001 - Atlantis is due to land at KSC today at 1:27PM EST (or 3:03PM EST, if they need a second attempt). Weather looks better at the Cape today. NASA reports:

STS-98 to Try Landing Today
If the weather cooperates, Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five-member crew will return home today. Atlantis will have two opportunities available at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., but weather forecasts indicate that gusty winds and cloud cover could delay its return again. The first opportunity, which begins with a deorbit burn at 11:21 a.m. CST (17:21 GMT), is at 12:27 p.m. CST. The second opportunity calls for landing at 2:03 p.m. CST (20:03 GMT), with a deorbit burn at 12:57 p.m. CST (18:57 GMT).
Atlantis also has two landing opportunities in California at Edwards Air Force Base, but weather forecasts indicate that it will be highly unlikely that conditions will be favorable for a touchdown there today or Tuesday. Weather forecasters and flight controllers will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day. When STS-98 does land, it will mark the end of a successful mission to deliver the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module to the International Space Station.

Check NASA TV for live video of the landing. Follow the play-by-play at Florida Today and Spaceflight Now!.

 

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18 February - Afternoon Update - Winds at KSC proved too high for today's second landing attempt. NASA reports:

Atlantis to Land Monday
NASA image of STS-98 Commander Ken Cockrell.
Flight controllers waved off Space Shuttle Atlantis' second landing opportunity for today due to high crosswinds at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The second opportunity was slated for 1:28 p.m. CST (19:28 GMT). Now attention turns toward a Monday touchdown. Two landing opportunities at Kennedy Space Center are available for STS-98 on Monday. For the first opportunity, the deorbit burn is scheduled for 11:21 a.m. CST (17:21 GMT) and landing at 12:27 p.m. CST (18:27 GMT). The second opportunity will have the deorbit burn occurring at 12:57 p.m. CST (18:57 GMT) and landing at 2:03 p.m. CST (20:03 GMT).
Flight controllers and weather forecasters will monitor the situation overnight. Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five-member crew are returning from the International Space Station. While at the station, the STS-98 crew installed the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module.

With any luck, Atlantis will come home tomorrow at 1:27PM EST. Weather conditions should improve, and if not, the orbiter can stay in space until Wednesday if necessary.


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18 February - Noon Update - More on the first wave-off. NASA reports:

Flight Controllers Wave Off First STS-98 Landing Attempt
The Shuttle Training Aircraft, piloted by Chief Astronaut Charlie Precourt, approaches the runway at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to evaluate landing conditions for Space Shuttle Atlantis. NASA image.Space Shuttle Atlantisí first landing opportunity for today at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., was waved off at about 10:20 a.m. CST (16:20 GMT) due to crosswinds. The landing opportunity was scheduled for 11:53 a.m. CST (17:53 GMT). Flight controllers and weather forecasters continue to closely monitor the situation. The next opportunity today is available at 1:28 p.m. CST (19:28 GMT) at Kennedy Space Center. If needed, four landing opportunities are available Monday -- two at Kennedy and two at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

If the winds die down, we could still have a landing today at 2:28PM EST. The Flight Day 11 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery.


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18 February - Morning Update - Atlantis is coming home today - if the weather cooperates. NASA reports:

Two Landing Opportunities Available for Atlantis Today
Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five-member crew have two landing opportunities slated for today at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The first is at 11:53 a.m. CST (17:53 GMT). If STS-98 Commander Ken Cockrell gets the nod to land on the first opportunity, he will perform the deorbit burn at 10:47 a.m. CST (16:47 GMT). The second opportunity is one orbit later and starts with a deorbit burn at 12:22 p.m. CST (18:22 GMT) and ending with landing at 1:28 p.m. CST (19:28 GMT). The weather forecasts for the landing facility are generally favorable, but gusty winds could cause a problem.
Atlantis and the STS-98 crew will be returning home after a successful visit to the International Space Station. While at the station, the five astronauts installed the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module, relocated a docking port, transferred supplies and equipment to the Expedition One crew, and completed three space walks.

Touchdown was scheduled for 12:53PM EST at Kennedy Space Center, but the latest report from Houston is that crosswinds are too high for the first landing opportunity. The next time the thrusters can be fired to slow down the orbiter is 1:22PM EST (1822 GMT), for a landing at 2:28PM EST (1928 GMT).


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18 February 2001 - Atlantis is due to land at KSC today at 12:50PM EST. Weather looks good at the Cape, but cross-winds are a concern. NASA reports:

Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled and ready to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. late Sunday morning. Press Kit / Landing Ground Tracks
Watch NASA TV Sunday to see coverage of the STS-98 landing, which is slated for 11:53 a.m. CST (17:53 GMT). NASA TV Schedule

Check NASA TV for live video of the landing. Follow the play-by-play at Florida Today and Spaceflight Now!

 

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17 February 2001 - Evening Update - Atlantis is packed up and ready for an early Sunday afternoon landing. NASA reports:

Atlantis to Come Home Tomorrow
This rare view of the shuttle's underside was captured from the International Space Station using a digital camera. NASA photo.The crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis spent the day making sure that all of the systems they will use in Sunday's planned landing are in good working order, and finished packing up for the ride home.
There are two landing opportunities for Atlantis in Florida on Sunday. The first begins with a deorbit burn on Orbit 169 at 10:47 a.m. CST (16:47 GMT) and culminates in a landing at 11:53 a.m. CST (17:53 GMT) on Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. A backup opportunity one orbit later starts with a deorbit burn at 12:22 p.m. CST (18:22 GMT), resulting in a 1:28 p.m. CST (19:28 GMT) landing. The weather forecast Sunday calls for generally favorable conditions in Florida, with the possibility of brisk winds near the three-mile-long landing strip.

The Flight Day 10 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery.


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17 February - Afternoon Update - The STS-98 crew is heading for homeNASA reports:

STS-98 Crew [To] Return
Space Shuttle Atlantis continues to orbit the Earth as its five-member crew prepares for landing. Atlantis is slated to land Sunday at 11:53 a.m. CST (17:53 GMT). This image was taken by a camera in Atlantis' payload bay. NASA photo.Space Shuttle Atlantis has almost completed her mission to the International Space Station. Launch took place at 6:13:02 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Landing is scheduled for Feb. 18 at about 12:50 p.m. EST at Kennedy Space Center.
JSC employees, contractors, friends, family members and public guests are invited to welcome home the STS-98 Atlantis crew on Monday, Feb. 19, 4:30 p.m., at Hangar 990, Ellington Field. STS-98 is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 18, before returning to Houston on Monday.
The STS-98 Landing Ground Tracks for Sunday are now available. Watch NASA TV Sunday to see coverage of the STS-98 landing, which is slated for 11:53 a.m. CST (17:53 GMT). NASA TV Schedule

Flight Day 10 imagery is now available in the NASA Gallery.


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17 February 2001 - The STS-98 crew is getting ready for tomorrow's landing. NASA reports:

Astronauts to Prepare for Landing
Astronaut Thomas D. Jones, mission specialist, participates in the final of three space walks to perform work on the International Space Station. NASA photo.During its final scheduled full day in orbit, the STS-98 crew will focus on preparing for its return to Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The five astronauts are nearing the end of a successful mission to install the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module onto the International Space Station. Their activities today include packing up equipment and hardware, conducting routine prelanding checks of Space Shuttle Atlantis' systems, and reviewing routine deorbit and entry procedures.
Atlantis has two landing opportunities slated for Sunday. The first landing opportunity is 11:53 a.m. CST (17:53 GMT), and the second is at 1:28 p.m. CST (19:28 GMT). Weather forecasts for the opportunities are generally favorable, but there is possibility of high winds.
Watch NASA TV today at 12:43 p.m. CST (18:43 GMT) when the STS-98 crew is interviewed by WMAR-TV and WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Md.

Florida Today has a slideshow of ISS images taken from Atlantis.

 

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16 February 2001 - Evening Update - The Atlantis crew, now back on their own, prepare for Sunday's landing. The faces of some members of the Expedition One crew can be seen in the window of the newly attached Destiny laboratory as the ISS and Atlantis begin their relative separation. NASA photo. It's been some mission so far - featuring the 100th spacewalk of the U.S. space program. But the 99th EVA (on Monday) was historic in its own way - astronaut Bob Curbeam became the first spacewalker to be engulfed by a toxic chemical while working outside. He was in no danger from the ammonia that leaked from a coolant line - he re-fastened the connector within minutes. But the crystallized substance could have turned back into a potentially lethal gas once he re-entered the orbiter, threatening the rest of the crew. Luckily, fellow spacewalker Tom Jones was able to "groom" Curbeam's suit so that no ammonia crystals were left. The addition of Destiny's computers (which control the 4 gyroscopes in the Z1 Truss) has allowed NASA to take over control of the Station from the Russian Space Agency. Here's NASA's report on the day's events:

Atlantis Undocks from Space Station
The STS-98 Astronauts (from left) Mark Polansky, Marsha Ivins, Robert Curbeam, Kenneth Cockrell and Thomas Jones talk to reporters on Earth from the shuttle's flight deck. NASA image.
The STS-98 crew completed a successful stay at the International Space Station when Pilot Mark Polansky undocked Shuttle Atlantis from the orbital outpost today at 8:06 a.m. CST (14:06 GMT). While at the station, the crew installed the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module, relocated a docking port, conducted three space walks and transferred supplies and equipment. STS-98 is slated to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Sunday at 11:50 a.m. CST (17:50 GMT).
Answers for Ask the Crew Questions are available. The STS-98 Press Kit is available.

New Jersey native Mark Polansky flew Atlantis halfway around the station before moving into an orbit that will take the spacecraft towards a Sunday landing. The Flight Day 9 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery.


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16 February - Afternoon Update - Atlantis undocked from the ISS this morning. NASA reports:

Atlantis Undocks from Space Station
Space Shuttle Atlantis' thruster jets fire as it moves away from the International Space Station. This image is a view from the Earth observation window in the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module. NASA image. The crews of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station said good-bye today, concluding a week of joint operations that saw the addition of the 16-ton Destiny laboratory to the outpost and the transfer of about 3,000 pounds of equipment and supplies to the complex. Atlantis astronauts Ken Cockrell, Mark Polansky, Bob Curbeam, Marsha Ivins and Tom Jones said farewell to Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev before closing hatches between the two craft. Undocking occurred at 9:06 a.m. EST today.
Before beginning its trip home, Atlantis is making a half-lap fly-around of the station, which will allow the crewmembers to collect photos and video. Pilot Mark Polansky is scheduled to make the separation burn at about 9:45 a.m. EST (14:45 GMT). Atlantis is slated to land at Kennedy Space Center, FL., Sunday at 12:50 p.m. EST.
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16 February 2001 - Atlantis will undock from the ISS this morning. NASA reports:

STS-98 Astronauts Say Goodbye, Close Hatches to Space Station
NASA image of STS-98 Pilot Mark Polansky. STS-98's five astronauts will depart from the International Space Station this morning. They said goodbye to Expedition One crew -- Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev -- before closing hatches between the station and Space Shuttle Atlantis at 7:14 a.m. CST (13:14 GMT). Atlantis is slated to undock at 8:06 a.m. CST (14:06 GMT) and perform a half-lap fly-around of the station before beginning its trip back home. Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Sunday at 11:50 a.m. CST (17:50 GMT).

 

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15 February 2001 - Evening Update - The Atlantis orbiter used its thrusters to boost the orbit of the ISS a few miles, in the last full day of docked operations. NASA reports:

Space Shuttle Atlantis Slated to Undock Friday
Astronaut Curbeam during the second spacewalk of STS-98. NASA photo.With its work aboard the International Space Station complete, the STS-98 crew will say goodbye to the Expedition One crew Friday before closing the hatches between both spacecraft and finally undocking at 8:06 a.m. CST (14:06 GMT). During their stay the astronauts attached the U.S. Destiny Laboratory, transferred gear and equipment from Atlantis to the station and boosted the station's orbit about 26 kilometers (16 miles) higher.
Watch NASA TV Friday at 6:18 a.m. CST (12:18 GMT) to see coverage of the STS-98 crew farewell to the Expedition crew, followed by Atlantis' undocking from the station.

The Flight Day 8 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery.


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15 February - Afternoon Update - The STS-98 crew is wrapping up their last full day connected to Space Station Alpha. Tuesday, the Station's new gyroscopes were tested. They will permit the orbiting complex to maintain its position without using precious propellant from its thrusters. Yesterday, part of the U.S.'s 100th EVA was spent rehearsing rescue techniques. NASA reports:

Shuttle Astronauts Prepare for Undocking Tomorrow
NASA photo of joint crews.Today, the last full day of docked operations between the crews of Atlantis and the International Space Station was filled with transferring equipment and supplies. The crews worked together on this task and Shuttle Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky boosted the Station's orbit with Atlantis' thrusters. Three of the crew spoke today with elementary and middle school students on a live TV feed. Undocking will take place tomorrow at 9 am EST. Atlantis will begin gently backing away from the Station prior to the start of a half-lap flyaround to enable the astronauts to collect detailed pictures and video of the newly expanded Station. Flight controllers in Houston, meanwhile, continue their checkout of the systems of the new Destiny laboratory of the ISS, reporting that the research facility is largely in excellent shape. The two docked spacecraft are currently orbiting the Earth at an altitude of approximately 237 statute miles.
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15 February 2001 - Atlantis' mission is nearing its end. The orbiter will undock from the ISS tomorrow morning, with landing scheduled for Sunday. NASA reports:

Crew Enters Final Full Docked Day
The STS-98 crew's final full day of docked operations at the International Space Station will be a busy one. The astronauts will work with the Expedition One crew to transfer supplies and equipment from Space Shuttle Atlantis to the station. In addition to the transfer work with the station crew, STS-98 Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky will fire Atlantis' thrusters in two separate maneuvers to boost the station's orbit. Mission Specialists Tom Jones, Bob Curbeam and Marsha Ivins will check out tools that will be used when Atlantis leaves the station on Friday. Also, Cockrell, Jones and Curbeam will take time to talk to elementary and middle school students from the Baltimore, Md., area at 7:49 a.m. CST (13:49 GMT). Then at 12:37 p.m. CST (18:37 GMT), both crews will participate in a news conference with reporters from the United States and Russia.

 

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14 February 2001 - Evening Update - Today's EVA (the 100th American spacewalk) is complete. Astronauts Curbeam and Jones installed a communications antenna, and did other work outside the Station, before practicing routines to rescue injured crewmates. They also paused to note the historic occasion, and to recall the achievements of those who came before them. NASA reports:

3rd STS-98 Space Walk Complete
At 8:48 a.m. CST (14:48 GMT) Wednesday, space walkers Robert Curbeam and Thomas Jones began the third and final planned space walk of STS-98. Five hours and 25 minutes later at 2:13 p.m. CST (20:13 GMT), they completed their space walking activities. Three hours later the shuttle and station crews reopened the hatches between the two spacecraft to continue supply transfer activities. Plans for Thursday include a fourth and final reboost of the station's altitude, an educational event with students from Baltimore, Maryland and three members of the STS-98 crew and later a news conference with the crews of both the shuttle and station.
Jones and Curbeam Complete 3 Space Walks
The STS-98 crew successfully completed the three scheduled space walks to continue the on-orbit construction. Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones conducted all three space walks. Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins operated Space Shuttle Atlantisí robotic arm, and Pilot Mark Polansky assisted with the choreography of the space walks. Among the tasks completed during the space walks included: the installation of the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module, the relocation of a docking port, attachment of a spare S-band Antenna Support Assembly, and a demonstration of techniques that could be used to rescue an incapacitated space walker. Jones and Curbeam spent a total of 19 hours and 49 minutes space walking during STS-98.
Watch NASA TV Thursday at 7:49 a.m. CST (13:49 GMT) for an educational event with the STS-98 crew and students from Baltimore, Md. Then at 12:37 p.m. CST (18:37 GMT), the joint Crew News Conference will be held.

The Flight Day 7 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery.


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14 February - Afternoon Update - Today's EVA is a historic one - and it's happening now. NASA reports:

100th U.S. Space Walk Begins
STS-98 Astronaut Bob Curbeam works on the outside of the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module during the third STS-98 space walk. NASA image.STS-98 Astronauts Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones began the 100th space walk in U.S. space flight history ahead of schedule at 8:48 a.m. CST (14:48 GMT) today. This is also the third space walk conducted during STS-98. The two space walkers will attach a spare communications antenna to the International Space Station, check the connections between the newly installed U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module and a docking port, and release restraints holding the stationís radiator in place and inspect the outside of the space station and its U.S. solar arrays. After their station-related activities are finished, Curbeam and Jones will demonstrate techniques that could be used to rescue an incapacitated space walker. The space walk is scheduled to end at about 1:43 p.m. CST (19:43 GMT).
Astronauts Step Out on 100th US Spacewalk
The third space walk of STS-98 and 100th space walk in U.S. space flight history began today at 9:48 a.m. EST. Aboard the ISS , Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev will continue setting up and activating systems in the Destiny laboratory and will use a large format IMAX camera to document life on board their orbiting home.

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14 February 2001 - Ground controllers are thrilled with how the STS-98 mission is going so far. On tap for today is the final spacewalk of the mission. NASA reports:

Crew to Conduct Space Walk
Mission Specialist Thomas Jones floats inside the shuttle's payload bay during the second space walk of STS-98. NASA image.Mission Specialists Tom Jones and Bob Curbeam will conduct the third space walk of STS-98 today. The space walk, which is scheduled for 9:18 a.m. CST (15:18 GMT), will be the 100th space walk in U.S. space flight history. Activities for Jones and Curbeam include attaching a spare communications antenna to the International Space Station, checking the connections between the newly installed U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module and a docking port, and releasing restraints holding the station's radiator in place. After their station-related activities are finished, Curbeam and Jones will demonstrate techniques that could be used to rescue an incapacitated space walker. Following the space walk, the hatches between Space Shuttle Atlantis and the station will be reopened. Also, Commander Ken Cockrell will use Atlantis' thrusters to raise the station's orbit for the fourth time during the mission.

 

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13 February 2001 - Evening Update - The Atlantis astronauts spent the day monitoring the new Destiny lab, which was installed Monday on the International Space Station. NASA reports:

Astronauts Prepare for Third Spacewalk of STS-98
Astronauts Robert Curbeam and Thomas Jones prepare for STS-98's second space walk yesterday. NASA image.While preparing for Wednesday's space walk, the STS-98 crew inspected the International Space Station using cameras attached to the shuttle's robotic arm and enjoyed some off-duty time. Also, Space Shuttle Commander Kenneth Cockrell used Atlantis' thrusters to boost the space station's orbit to an average altitude of 370 kilometers (230 statute miles). Meanwhile, astronauts Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones are scheduled to exit the shuttle's airlock Wednesday at around 9:18 a.m. CST (15:18 GMT) to begin the 100th space walk in U.S. space flight history.

The Flight Day 6 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery.


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13 February 2001 - More on the STS-98 mission. NASA reports:

Astronauts to Boost Station's Orbit, Prepare for Historic Space Walk
STS-98 Astronauts (from left) Mark Polansky, Marsha Ivins, Thomas Jones and Robert Curbeam share a laugh during an interview with reporters on Earth. NASA image. The STS-98 crew will spend the day inside Space Shuttle Atlantis. Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky will use Space Shuttle Atlantis' thruster jets to raise the orbit of the International Space Station. This afternoon, Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones will prepare for the mission's third space walk, which is slated to begin Wednesday at 9:18 a.m. CST (15:18 GMT). The space walk will be the 100th in U.S. space flight history. The crew will also enjoy some off-duty time today.

Watch NASA TV Wednesday to see STS-98's third space walk, which is slated to begin at 10:18AM EST. NASA TV Schedule here.

Did you know? Bob Curbeam's seat on this flight was originally supposed to be taken by veteran spacewalker Mark Lee.  Lee was replaced under mysterious circumstances - but no one is saying why

 

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12 February 2001 - Evening Update - The second EVA of the mission is finishedNASA reports:

Second Space Walk Completed
Astronaut Thomas Jones rides Space Shuttle Atlantis' robotic arm on Monday during the second of three scheduled space walks during STS-98. The arm was operated by STS-98 Astronaut Marsha Ivins. NASA image.The astronauts aboard Atlantis breezed through the second space walk of their mission today and attached a docking port to the end of the International Space Station's new Destiny Laboratory, completing all the space walk's planned tasks and more.
The two space walkers, Mission Specialists Robert Curbeam and Tom Jones, moved rapidly through a variety of tasks, including the installation of insulating covers over the pins that had held Destiny in place during launch; attaching a vent to part of the lab's air system; putting wires, handrails and sockets on the exterior of Destiny as aids for future space walkers; and attaching a base for the future space station robotic arm and moving Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 to the end of the Destiny Lab. This space walk was the 99th time in history that U.S. astronauts had ventured outside of a spacecraft, and the 59th space walk from a Space Shuttle.

The spacewalkers installed a 20-inch, optical-quality viewport onto the Station - a task that was not scheduled until the next EVA.


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12 February - Afternoon Update - EVA 2 is underway! NASA reports:

Second STS-98 Space Walk Begins
This a view from the helmet camera that STS-98 Mission Specialist Tom Jones is wearing as he uses a tool to unbolt Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 from the Z1 Truss during the mission's second space walk. NASA imageSTS-98 Astronauts Tom Jones and Bob Jones began the mission's second space walk outside of the International Space Station at 9:59 a.m. CST (15:59 GMT). One of the objectives of today's space walk is to transfer Pressurized Mating Adapter 2, a docking port, from its temporary position on the Z1 Truss to the end of the newly installed U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module. Jones and Curbeam will assist Mission Specialist Marsh Ivins as she uses Space Shuttle Atlantis' robotic arm to move the docking port. Another task scheduled for the space walk is the installation of an electronic power and data grapple fixture, which will serve as the connection point for the station's robotic arm. The station's robotic arm will arrive at the station on STS-100. Today's space walk is slated to last about 6.5 hours and is the 15th in the space station assembly sequence and the 99th in U.S. space flight history.
ESC imagery for Flight Day 4 is now available in the gallery. Also, the Flight Day 5 Crew Activity Report is in the Gallery. Watch NASA TV Tuesday at 1:38 p.m. CST (19:38 GMT) to see the STS-98 crew conduct an interview with CNN, ABC News and CBS Radio. NASA TV Schedule.

The addition of Destiny makes the ISS the largest space station ever (in terms of habitable volume).


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12 February 2001 - More work outside the Station is slated for today. NASA reports:

Crew to Conduct 2nd Space Walk
The attention of the STS-98 crew will turn to the outside of the International Space Station today. Mission Specialists Tom Jones and Bob Curbeam will conduct the mission's second space walk, which is slated to begin at about 9:43 a.m. CST (15:43 GMT). Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins will operate Space Shuttle Atlantis' robotic arm. The tasks for today include transferring a docking port from its temporary position on the Z1 Truss and installing it onto the end of the newly installed U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module. Then, Jones and Curbeam will connect a grapple fixture to Destiny in preparation for the delivery of the station's robotic arm by STS-100 in April. The space walk is slated to last about 6.5 hours.

The Flight Day 5 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery.

 

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11 February 2001 - Evening Update - The first day's work inside Space Station Alpha's newest module is complete. NASA reports:

Destiny Opens for Business, But More Work Remains for Crew
A portrait of the STS-98 and Expedition One crews inside the newly attached U.S. Laboratory. NASA image.After spending a full day inside the newly attached Destiny Lab, the crews of STS-98 and Expedition One said good bye as preparations for Monday's space walk began. On Monday morning Mission Specialists Tom Jones and Robert Curbeam will begin the second schdeuled space walk at 9:43 a.m. CST (15:43 GMT). As before, Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins will use Atlantis' robotic arm to assist the space walkers. Their mission is to reattach Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 to the end of the Destiny Laboratory Module, from its current position on the Z1 Truss. The space walk is planned to conclude at around 4:13 p.m. CST (22:13 GMT).
ESC imagery for Flight Day 3 is now available in the gallery. Also, the Flight Day 4 Crew Activity Report is in the Gallery. Watch NASA TV Monday to see coverage of STS-98's second space walk, which begins at 9:43 a.m. CST (15:43 GMT). NASA TV Schedule.

The crews expressed joy at the condition of the new lab, calling it "a beautiful piece of hardware". Tomorrow's EVA is scheduled for 10:43AM EST.


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11 February - Morning Update - Both crews have entered the latest addition to the International Space Station. NASA reports:

Crews Enter Destiny for First Time
STS-98 Commander Ken Cockrell (left) and Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd shake hands after the opening of the hatch to the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module. In the foreground, an Expedition One crewmember films the event. Note the goggles the astronauts wear to protect from possible floating debris. NASA image. The STS-98 and Expedition One astronauts and cosmonauts entered the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module for the first time at 8:38 a.m. CST (14:38 GMT). Inside the lab, the crews will work to outfit the newest addition to the station. The STS-98 crew will also spend time later today preparing for the mission's second space walk by Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones, which will occur on Monday. Also, Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky will fire Space Shuttle Atlantis' jet thrusters in order to raise the orbit of the International Space Station.

Crewmembers found a surprise message from ground personnel left inside the Destiny module - read it here. Mission Status Briefing at 4PM EST today - watch it live on NASA TV. Morning Mission Status Report here.


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11 February 2001 - After yesterday's long day, the Shuttle astronauts will be waking up at 6:13AM EST, and spend the day working with the ISS crew to activate the systems aboard the new Destiny module, which will provide room for science experiments, as well as computer processing for the Station. NASA reports:

The Flight Day 3 Crew Activity Report is in the Gallery.
Watch NASA TV at 8:13 a.m. CST (14:13 GMT) Sunday to see coverage of the Expedition One and STS-98 crews entering the Destiny Lab. NASA TV Schedule.

Entry into Destiny is scheduled for 9:13AM EST.

 

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10 February - Evening Update - The first EVA of the mission is complete, and the Destiny lab is hooked up to the ISSNASA reports:

Shuttle Crew Connects U.S. Laboratory Destiny Module
Space walker Robert Curbeam is attached to the U.S. Laboratory with the Earth below. NASA image. The crews of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station successfully installed the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module onto the station today in a dazzling display of robotics finesse and space walking skill. At 9:50 a.m. CST (15:50 GMT), astronauts Tom Jones and Bob Curbeam began a space walk that continued throughout the day, in tandem with Marsha Ivin's robotic arm work. Jones provided Ivins visual cues as she moved the adapter to its temporary position, and Curbeam removed protective launch covers and disconnected power and cooling cables between Destiny and Atlantis.

Earlier today...

Space Walk Completes Attachment of the Station's Scientific Laboratory
NASA image of STS-98 Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam. The STS-98 crew successfully completed the mission's first space walk, which was highlighted by the installation of the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module onto the International Space Station. Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones ended the space walk at 5:24 p.m. CST (23:24 GMT) Saturday. It lasted 7 hours and 34 minutes and was the 14th space walk in the space station assembly sequence and the 58th shuttle-based space walk. Later today, the hatches will be opened between the shuttle and the station, and flight controllers will continue to send commands associated with the activation of the lab's systems. The second space walk of STS-98 is slated to begin Monday at 9:43 a.m. CST (15:43 GMT).

Spacewalker Bob Curbeam had a run-in with some dangerous ammonia coolant while on his EVA with Tom Jones, but his suit was decontaminated before re-entering Atlantis.


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10 February - Late Afternoon Update - The ISS now has a fourth module - the "Destiny" lab. NASA reports:

Crew Attaches Destiny Module To Space Station
Space Shuttle Atlantis' robotic arm attaches the U.S. Laboratory Destiny to the International Space Station. NASA image. The STS-98 astronauts have achieved a major milestone in their mission with the attachment of the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module to the International Space Station. With the assistance of space walkers Bob Curbeam and Tom Jones, Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins used Space Shuttle Atlantisí robotic arm to attach Destiny to the stationís Unity Module. For the remainder of the space walk, the astronauts inside of Atlantis will send commands through laptop computers for Destiny and Unity to bolt together. Jones and Curbeam will connect power, data and cooling lines between the lab and the station. Inside the Space Station, Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev will begin outfitting the vestibule between Unity and Destiny. The space walk began at 9:50 a.m. CST (15:50 GMT) and is expected to last 6.5 hours.

The $1.5-billion Destiny module (which we saw being processed at KSC in 1997!) is so expensive that NASA could not afford to build a backup. Way to work that arm, Marsha!


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10 February - Afternoon Update - The first EVA is underway! Mission: install a new module onto Space Station Alpha! NASA reports:

Astronauts Begin First Space Walk
Space Shuttle Atlantis' robotic arm moves Pressurized Mating Adapter 2, which is seen in the upper part of screen, from the Unity Module to the Z1 Truss to make room for the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module. Destiny will be connected to Unity, which is seen in the bottom half of the picture. Above Unity is the Z1, which is partially obscured by the adapter. NASA image.Mission Specialists Tom Jones and Robert Curbeam began the first space walk of STS-98 today at 9:50 a.m. CST (15:50 GMT). During the space walk, the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module will be installed onto the International Space Station. Prior to the start of the of the space walk, Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins used Space Shuttle Atlantis' robotic arm to remove a station docking port from the end of the Unity Module to a temporary position on the Z1 Truss. With the assistance of Curbeam and Jones, she will lift Destiny out of the shuttle's payload bay and install it at the end of Unity. The two space walkers will then begin connecting electrical, data and cooling lines between Destiny and Unity. This is the 14th space walk in the space station assembly sequence and is slated to last about 6.5 hours.
ESC imagery for Flight Day 2 is now available in the gallery. Also, the Flight Day 2 Crew Activity Report is in the gallery.

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10 February 2001 - The first of STS-98's three EVAs is scheduled for today. NASA reports:

STS-98 to Conduct 3 Space Walks
Extravehicular mobility suits (spacesuits) inside the Shuttle's airlock. NASA photo. While at the International Space Station, the STS-98 astronauts will conduct three space walks. Mission Specialists Tom Jones and Bob Curbeam will be the space walkers. Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins will operate Space Shuttle Atlantisí robotic arm, and Pilot Mark Polansky will assist in the choreography of the space walks. The primary objective of the space walks is to install the U.S. Laboratory Module on the International Space Station. Other tasks include relocating Pressurized Mating Adapter 2, attaching a spare S-band Antenna Support Assembly and conducting a test of the ability of the Simplified Aid for Extravehicular Activity Rescue, or SAFER, jet backpack to maneuver two crewmembers.

Atlantis pilots had to fire thrusters early this morning to raise the orbit of the docked Orbiter-Station complex, to avoid a piece of space junk (no Mir jokes, please!)

 

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09 February 2001 - Evening Update - The crews of Atlantis and Alpha met today, about two hours after the orbiter docked with the International Space Station. NASA reports:

Atlantis Crew Enters Space Station
On the right, the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module rests in Space Shuttle Atlantis' payload bay following the shuttle's docking with the International Space Station, which is visible in the background at the top. On the left is Atlantis' robotic arm, which will be used to attach Destiny to the space station on Saturday. NASA image.The five STS-98 astronauts became the second shuttle crew to visit the International Space Station when the hatch was opened and they entered the Unity Connecting Module at 1:03 p.m. CST (19:03 GMT). They were greeted by Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev. The STS-98 astronauts are delivering water, supplies and family gifts to the station crew. Then at about 5:03 p.m. CST (23:03 GMT), the astronauts will close the hatch to the station and begin preparing for the first of three scheduled space walks. Mission Specialists Tom Jones and Bob Curbeam are scheduled to begin the space walk at 9:18 a.m. CST (15:18 GMT) Saturday. They will help robot arm operator Marsha Ivins install the U.S. Laboratory Module onto the International Space Station.

The Atlantis crew is delivering lots of goodies from home, as well as supplies for the 3-man ISS crew. One of the items is an American-made spacesuit - apparently, there is a communications problem with the three Russian spacesuits currently aboard the station. The Flight Day 2 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery.


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09 February 2001 - Afternoon Update - "Contact and capture confirmed!" A successful docking for Shuttle Atlantis and Space Station Alpha. NASA reports:

Atlantis Docks with Space Station, Prepares for Space Walks
NASA image of Shuttle and Station docking mechanisms together.Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky brought Space Shuttle Atlantis into a perfect docking with the International Space Station this morning at 11:51 a.m. EST, over the Western Pacific. The hatch between the shuttle and station will open at approximately 1:45 p.m. EST. Atlantis and its five astronauts are delivering the US Laboratory Module, Destiny, to the space station. The first of three space walks leading to the lab's installation will begin tomorrow. They are the second crew to visit the Expedition One crew who have been aboard the station for just over three months. Watch mission activities live on NASA Television or on NASA TV on the Web.

Earlier...

Atlantis Docking with Space Station
NASA image of Station taken from Shuttle.Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky are completing final rendezvous procedures aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis to dock with the International Space Station this morning. The opening of the hatch between the shuttle and the station will occur about 90 minutes after docking. Atlantis and its five astronauts are delivering the US Laboratory Module, Destiny, to the space station. Watch the docking process live on NASA Television or on NASA TV on the Web.

Shortly after the near-perfect rendezvous and docking, Shuttle astronauts began moving supplies into the Station's airlock.


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09 February 2001 - Atlantis is going to dock with the International Space Station at 10 minutes to noon EST todayNASA reports:

Docking Day Arrives for STS-98
STS-98 Commander Ken Cockrell. NASA photo. Overnight, Space Shuttle Atlantis continued its pursuit of the International Space Station and was located 370 kilometers (230 miles) behind the orbital outpost just after 4 a.m. CST (10:00 GMT) this morning. STS-98 Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky will begin final rendezvous procedures just after 6 a.m. CST (12:00 GMT) today. Atlantis is slated to dock with the station at 10:50 a.m. CST (16:50 GMT). The opening of the hatch between the shuttle and the station will occur about 90 minutes after docking. Atlantis and its five astronauts are delivering the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module to the space station.

 

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08 February 2001 - Evening Update - Atlantis performs a rendezvous burn to catch up to the Station. NASA reports:

Crew Prepares for Station Docking
From the shuttle's flight deck, Commander Kenneth Cockrell and Mission Specialist Thomas Jones talk with reporters on Earth about the objective of the STS-98 mission. Image courtesy of NASA. The first full day in orbit for the STS-98 astronauts was a busy one. The crew checked out the three spacesuits and the robotic arm which will be used to install the Destiny Module to the International Space Station. During the day Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky adjusted the velocity in which Atlantis is gaining on the station. At present the shuttle is gaining 177 kilometers (110 statute miles) with every orbit of the Earth, and is planned to dock with the station around 10:50 a.m. CST (16:50 GMT) Friday.
Watch NASA TV to see coverage of Space Shuttle Atlantis docking with the International Space Station at 10:50 a.m. CST (16:50 GMT) Friday. NASA TV Schedule.

The Flight Day 1 Crew Activity Report is now available in the NASA Gallery. The work at the launchpad isn't over once the Shuttle lifts off - check the KSC Shuttle Status Reports from yesterday and today


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08 February 2001 - Atlantis is chasing the ISS. NASA reports:

Crew to Prepare for Work at Station
Space Shuttle Atlantis launches. NASA photo.The first full day in orbit for the STS-98 astronauts will be a busy one. The crew will prepare for the installation of the U.S. Laboratory Module Destiny onto the International Space Station by checking out the shuttle's robotic arm and the space suits that will be used during the mission's three scheduled space walks. Also, Commander Ken Cockrell and Pilot Mark Polansky will conduct a series of engine firings to help Atlantis catch up with the space station. Atlantis is slated to dock with the station Friday at 10:58 a.m. CST (16:58 GMT).
A Truly Picture-Perfect Launch
NASA photo of STS-98 liftoff and colorful plume.
Many people on hand for yesterday's launch of Space Shuttle Mission STS-98 agreed that it was one of the prettiest ever, with an unusual combination of a full moon and the early evening's sun lighting up the spacecraft's exhaust plume as in the photo at left. For a larger view, click here. As Atlantis lifted off yesterday, the Expedition One crew aboard the International Space Station was marking its 100th day in orbit. Atlantis is slated to dock with the station tomorrow, Friday, at 11:58 a.m. EST.

Atlantis is carrying the Destiny lab, which is being flown without science stations due to its weight. The lab will be stocked over time on future Shuttle missions.

 

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07 February 2001 - LIFTOFF! Atlantis blasts off in a beautiful sunset launch from KSCNASA reports:

Atlantis Blasts Off to Begin STS-98
The solid rocket boosters separate from Space Shuttle Atlantis' external tank following a successful launch from Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The two boosters are in the middle of the picture, and the orbiter and the external tank are in the bottom left corner. NASA photo. Space Shuttle Atlantis launched from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 5:13 p.m. CST (23:13 GMT) Wednesday to begin STS-98. Atlantis and its five-member crew are now en route to the International Space Station. While at the station, the astronauts will conduct three space walks and use the shuttle's robotic arm to install the U.S. Laboratory Module onto the station. Atlantis is slated to dock with the station Friday at 10:58 a.m. CST (16:58 GMT).

Atlantis is on its way to a Friday docking with the ISS, to deliver the Destiny lab to the station. Mission play-by-play at Florida Today and Spaceflight Now!. Video here.


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07 February 2001 - Launch day is here! NASA reports:

STS-98 Slated to Lift Off Today
The countdown continues for the launch of STS-98. Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five-member crew are slated to lift off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., today at 5:11 p.m. CST and will deliver the U.S. Laboratory Module to the International Space Station.
See the International Space Station
The International Space Station. Image courtesy of NASA JSC.
If weather permits, people in the Houston area may be able to see both the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Atlantis as they pass over the area. The sighting opportunities will occur one orbit following Atlantis' launch from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 5:11 p.m. CST. The following sighting opportunities information is based upon an on-time launch and a nominal post insertion.
The station is scheduled to pass over the area at 6:36 p.m. CST, followed by Atlantis at 6:47 p.m. CST. The station will first appear 44 degrees above the horizon in the north-northwest portion of the sky. It will travel across the sky for two minutes and disappear 11 degrees above the horizon in the north-northeast portion of the sky. Atlantis will appear 19 degrees above the horizon in the north-northwest portion of the sky. It will be visible for one minute and disappear 11 degrees above the horizon in the north portion in the sky. For more information about station and shuttle sightings during STS-98, visit the SkyWatch section of NASA's Human Space Flight Web.

Stay tuned...

 

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06 February 2001 - Launch tomorrow! NASA reports:

Launch Day Draws Near for STS-98
NASA photo of the STS-98 crew. The countdown continues for the launch of STS-98. Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five-member crew are slated to lift off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Wednesday at 5:11 p.m. CST (23:11 GMT) and will deliver the U.S. Laboratory Module to the International Space Station.
Over the weekend, prelaunch preparations continued for STS-98. The STS-98 flight crew arrived at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Sunday. The launch countdown began at the T minus 43 hour mark Sunday night. Atlantis and its five-member crew are slated to lift off Wednesday at 5:11 p.m. CST.
The removal of the Rotating Service Structure from around Atlantis and late stowage of flight crew equipment is slated to occur Tuesday night. After several built-in holds, the countdown will resume Wednesday at 8:16 a.m. CST (14:16 GMT) at the T minus 6-hour mark, which is when the fueling of Atlantis' external tank will begin. Weather forecasts indicate that there is a 90-percent chance of favorable weather for launch Wednesday.
Shuttle Set to Launch Tomorrow
The five crew members of Space Shuttle Mission STS-98 are on track to liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center, FL., tomorrow at 6:11 p.m. EST aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. During the 10-day mission the crew will continue the on-orbit construction of the International Space Station. While at the station, the astronauts will conduct three space walks and use Atlantis' robotic arm to install the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module. With the installation and commissioning of Destiny, a new era of scientific experimentation and research in space will begin. The crew members are: Commander Kenneth Cockrell, Pilot Mark Polansky, and Mission Specialists Robert Curbeam, Thomas Jones and Marsha Ivins. You can watch launch activities live on NASA Television or NASA TV on the Web.

Weather looks good at the Cape, but backup landing sites in Spain and Morocco may violate weather parameters. NASA TV will, of course, carry live video coverage of the 6:11PM EST launch. Follow the play-by-play at Florida Today and Spaceflight Now!

 

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05 February 2001 - Liftoff on Wednesday! NASA reports:

The STS-98 crew arrived at KSC on Sunday, Feb. 4 about 1:36 p.m. EST and the countdown has begun to launch Atlantis on Feb. 7 at 6:11 p.m. EST. See photos.....
News conferences, events and operating hours for KSC's News Center have been set for the Feb. 7 launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on Mission STS-98.   Read more..... Watch NASA TV to see the launch of STS-98 at 5:11 p.m. CST (23:11 GMT) Wednesday. Prelaunch coverage begins Wednesday at 12 p.m. CST (18:00 GMT). NASA TV Schedule.

 

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03 February 2001 - The countdown starts this weekend! NASA reports:

Shuttle Launch Countdown Begins Sunday
NASA will begin the countdown for launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-98 on Sunday. Liftoff is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 6:11 p.m. EST from the Kennedy Space Center, FL, on a mission to deliver and install the US Laboratory module. Atlantis and its five-member crew will deliver the lab, Destiny, and conduct three delicate spacewalks to install it. The first laboratory to be delivered, Destiny is the centerpiece of the ISS, where unprecedented science experiments will be performed in the near-zero gravity of space. The STS-98 crew, scheduled to arrive in Florida on Sunday, includes: Commander Kenneth Cockrell, Pilot Mark Polansky, and Mission Specialists Robert Curbeam, Thomas Jones and Marsha Ivins.

 

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02 February 2001 - The Space Shuttle is being fueled upNASA reports:

STS-98 Prelaunch Processing Continues
Atlantis rolls out o fthe Vehicle Assembly Building. NASA photo.Routine prelaunch processing continues on schedule for mission STS-98. At Launch Pad 39A, workers have completed shuttle ordnance connections. Atlantis' aft engine compartment is was to be closed out for flight Thursday and technicians were scheduled to install the aft doors early today.
Shuttle hypergolic pressurization efforts continue through today. In Firing Room No. 3, engineers are conducting standard launch countdown preparations today. The countdown clock is scheduled to start at the T minus 43 hour mark at 9 p.m. CST on Sunday. Sunday morning, workers are scheduled to replace one of the three space suits aboard Atlantis. The replacement suit will be left aboard the International Space Station during the STS-98 flight.

 

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01 February 2001 - Launch prep is ongoing. NASA reports:

Launch Processing Continues
Space Shuttle Atlantis begins rolling out of the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A on Jan. 26. NASA photo.Workers at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., continue routine prelaunch processing for STS-98, a mission to deliver the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module to the International Space Station. The installation of Space Shuttle Atlantis' explosive bolts is complete, and workers were closing out the orbiter engine compartment Thursday.
Engineers are preparing for the start of the STS-98 countdown clock, which is slated to begin Sunday at 9 p.m. CST (Monday at 03:00 GMT). Also on Sunday, one of the three space suits aboard Atlantis will be replaced, and the STS-98 flight crew will arrive at Kennedy at about 12:30 p.m. CST (18:30 GMT).

The Houston Chronicle has their STS-98 section up.

 

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30 January 2001 - STS-98 is on track for a February 7th launchNASA reports:

Launch Pad Validations Complete
The STS-98 crew. NASA photo. At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., preparations for the Feb. 7 launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis continue. Workers reinstalled the U.S. Laboratory Module Destiny and completed routine launch validations on Monday. Aft compartment closeouts and preparations for the installation of the explosive bolts are under way.
The STS-98 astronauts are scheduled to arrive at Kennedy at about 12:30 p.m. CST (18:30 GMT) Sunday. The launch countdown begins at 9 p.m. CST Sunday (03:00 GMT Monday). STS-98 will continue the on-orbit construction of the International Space Station with the delivery of Destiny.

 

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29 January 2001 - Ground personnel are getting Atlantis ready for liftoff (again!) NASA reports:

Launch Preparations Continue
At Kennedy Space Center, Fla., launch processing for Space Shuttle Atlantis continues as the Feb. 7 launch date draws near. Workers reinstalled the U.S. Laboratory Module Destiny into Atlantis' payload bay and finished routine shuttle and launch pad interfaces on Monday. Payload bay door closure is slated for Tuesday evening, and routine debris inspections at the pad will occur this week. The launch countdown for STS-98 is targeted to begin Sunday at 9 p.m. CST (Monday at 03:00 GMT).

The revised date is having a "domino effect" on future launch dates. 

In other NASA news, sites are observing a moment of silence in memory of the astronauts lost in the Apollo 1 and Challenger disasters. 

 

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26 January 2001 - Atlantis returned to Pad 39A yesterday. NASA reports:

Atlantis Rolls Out to Launch Pad 39A
Space Shuttle Atlantis rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building Friday and returned to Launch Pad 39A, where workers will begin final preparations for the launch of STS-98. Workers were slated to begin launch pad validations Friday and open Atlantis' payload bay doors Saturday in preparation for Monday's installation of the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module. STS-98 and its five-member crew are slated to lift off Feb. 7 at 5:11 p.m. CST (23:11 GMT).

NASA announced the new launch date7 Feb 2001 at 6:11PM EST, yesterday. Liftoff has been delayed by electrical wiring inspections in December and January.

 

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25 January 2001 - Shuttle Atlantis will be rolling out to the launchpad tomorrow  (Friday) at 7AM EST. The journey to Launch Complex 39A will proceed at a stately pace of 1MPH, with arrival at the pad scheduled for noon. NASA reports:

Space Shuttle Managers Target Feb. 7 Launch Date for STS-98
Thursday, shuttle managers announced a new target launch date for STS-98, a mission to deliver the U.S. Laboratory Module to the International Space Station. Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five-member crew are now slated to lift off Feb. 7 at 5:11 p.m. CST (23:11 GMT). Also, managers announced that STS-102 will launch no earlier than March 8 and Atlantis' next flight, STS-104, will launch no earlier than June 8. Meanwhile, in the Vehicle Assembly Building, final preparations were under way for Atlantis' return to Launch Pad 39A. Rollout is scheduled to begin Friday at 6 a.m. CST (12:00 GMT).

NASA announced the new launch date, Wednesday, 7 Feb 2001 at 6:11PM EST, today.

 

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24 January 2001 - Atlantis will be rolling back out to the launchpad this Friday, with liftoff tentatively scheduled for 6 Feb 2001. NASA reports:

Rollout Preparations Continue
Preparations continue on schedule for Friday's rollout of Space Shuttle Atlantis to Launch Pad 39A. Wednesday morning, engineers completed the Shuttle Interface Test and solid rocket booster closeouts continued in the Vehicle Assembly Building. Final preparations for Atlantis' trip to the pad will occur Thursday. Atlantis and its five-member crew will deliver the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module to the International Space Station during STS-98, the seventh station assembly mission by a shuttle.

Wiring tests showed that electrical cabling for control of booster separation checks out OK. The entire Shuttle launch schedule for this year is under review.

 

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23 January 2001 - Testing on Atlantis is done, and the return to the launchpad is now scheduled for Friday. NASA reports:

Cable Retesting Complete; Atlantis to Roll Out to Launch Pad Friday
Monday night at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., technicians completed the retesting of cables in Space Shuttle Atlantis' solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. Due to the additional work, Atlantis is now slated to begin rolling out to the launch pad Friday at 6 a.m. CST (12:00 GMT). Workers have begun SRB close-outs and are scheduled to begin the Shuttle Interface Test Tuesday afternoon. Atlantis and its five-member crew will lift off no earlier than Feb. 6 to begin STS-98, a mission to deliver the U.S. Destiny Laboratory to the International Space Station.

Safety concerns had grounded this month's flight, but the new date (three weeks later) will put Space Station assembly back on track.

 

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22 January 2001 - The Atlantis mission, which will deliver a new lab to the ISS, has been postponed until February. Testing of the booster cables (which could cause a catastrophic failure if they didn't work) is nearly complete. NASA reports:

Technicians Finish 'Wiggle' Tests
Kennedy Space Center technicians successfully completed the "wiggle" tests of cables in both of Space Shuttle Atlantis' solid rocket boosters. Analysis of X-ray images shows that there is no physical damage to the cables. However, engineers are repeating a portion of the test due to the possibility of interference from humidity. Tuesday, the Shuttle Interface Test begins, and preparations for Atlantis' return to Launch Pad 39A are slated to get under way Wednesday. Rollout could occur as early as Thursday morning.

The new launch date (6 Feb 2001) is expected to be confirmed later this week.

 

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19 January 2001 - Atlantis is back in the Vehicle Assembly Building for testing of the system that separates the Solid Rocket Boosters after launch. The Shuttle could return to the pad as early as Thursday, 25 Jan 2001, for a launch no earlier than 6 Feb 2001. NASA reported earlier today:

Atlantis' Roll Back Begins
Workers in the payload changeout room, or PCR, check the U.S. Lab Destiny as it moves from Atlantisí payload bay into the PCR. Destiny will remain in the PCR while workers conduct inspections, continuity checks and X-ray analysis on the solid rocket booster cables. NASA photoWith the U.S. Laboratory in the payload changeout room, Space Shuttle Atlantis began rolling back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, at 7 a.m. CST (13:00 GMT) Friday. The Rotating Service Structure moved back from the shuttle Thursday morning at about 10 a.m. CST (16:00 GMT) after workers disconnected ordnance and removed weather protection panels.
Once Atlantis is in the VAB, technicians will conduct various tests of the solid rocket booster cables over the weekend. Upon successful completion of these tests Atlantis could roll back out to Launch Pad 39A as early as Thursday, Jan. 25.

Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here.

 

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18 January 2001 - Atlantis should start its trip to the VAB tomorrow. Things are being re-arranged in the "Shuttle garage" to accommodate the ship. Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here.

 

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17 January 2001 - Preparations continue in order to roll Atlantis back from the launchpad. The Destiny lab will be removed from the Orbiter's payload bay tonight. Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here.

 

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16 January 2001 - The launch of Atlantis has been pushed back until February. NASA reports:

Atlantis to Roll Back to VAB Friday
The payload canister (left), in its vertical position, arrives at Launch Pad 39A with the U.S. Lab Destiny inside. In the near background is a crawler-transporter. NASA photo.Tuesday at Launch Pad 39A, workers were preparing Space Shuttle Atlantis to be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB, on Friday. Wednesday, STS-98's primary cargo, the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module, is scheduled for removal from Atlantis' payload bay and technicians are slated to begin disconnecting the orbiter's explosive bolts. While in the VAB, Atlantis will undergo testing of 36 Solid Rocket Booster cables located in systems tunnels. Due to the rollback, Atlantis and its five astronauts will launch no earlier than Feb. 6 to begin STS-98, a mission to the International Space Station.

The unscheduled tests cannot be performed at the launchpad, which is why the spacecraft has to return to its hangar.

 

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15 January 2001 - NASA postpones Space Shuttle launch! The launch of Atlantis has been pushed back until next month, due to a suspected problem in the cables that control solid rocket booster separation. Liftoff was scheduled for this Friday, but this decision will require the Shuttle stack to roll back from the launchpad to the Vehicle Assembly Building for further inspections. Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here.

 

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14 January 2001 - Looks like the Shuttle crew will miss the Inauguration and the Super Bowl - but we'll take a trip to space over any TV show, any day!

 

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12 January 2001 - Orbiter processing continues, with a slight delay in the closing of the payload bay doors. Events for launch day are set, and the countdown should begin this Tuesday. Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here.

 

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11 January 2001 - Atlantis awaits next week's launch, the first manned flight of 2001. NASA reports:

STS-98 Preparations Continue
Shuttle Atlantis, before mounting of the external tank and solid rocket boosters last month. Photo courtesy of NASA. Workers at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., continue the prelaunch preparations of STS-98, which is slated to lift off Jan. 19. Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five-member crew will deliver the U.S. Laboratory Module to the International Space Station. Payload bay closure and the beginning of the flight readiness test for Atlantis' main engines were scheduled for Wednesday night. Aft compartment closeouts begin Thursday.

Preflight images here. Destiny assembly animation here.

 

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10 January 2001 - Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here. Weekend preparations, including a practice countdown, were successful. Officials have confirmed the launch date for January 19th (Thursday night/Friday morning). NASA reports:

STS-98 to Launch Next Week
STS-98 crew photo courtesy of NASA.Launch of Space Shuttle mission STS-98 to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for launch on Friday, Jan. 19, 2001, from the Kennedy Space Center, FL. Here the crew poses, in their orange launch and entry suits in front of their vehicle, Space Shuttle Atlantis. They are (left to right) Commander Ken Cockrell, Mission Specialist Marsha Ivins, Pilot Mark Polansky and Mission Specialists Robert Curbeam and Thomas Jones. STS-98 is the seventh construction flight to the ISS, carrying as payload the U.S. Lab, Destiny. The crew will conduct three spacewalks to install the lab and be the second group to visit the Expedition One crew currently living aboard the ISS.

Orbiter processing & launchpad images here.

 

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08 January 2001 - Atlantis is on the pad and getting prepped for launch. NASA reports:

Launch Pad Preparations Continue
At the top of the incline to Launch Pad 39A, Space Shuttle Atlantis nears the Rotating Service Structure (left). Photo courtesy of NASA.Saturday, Jan. 6 the STS-98 crew completed Terminal Countdown Demonstration Tests. While at the launch pad, workers also installed the U.S. Laboratory 'Destiny' inside Atlantis' payload bay. After final payload testing, the payload bay doors are scheduled to be closed Thursday, Jan. 11.
Propellant loading into the orbiter's onboard tanks is planned for Monday, Jan. 8. Flight readiness tests for the shuttle's main engines are targeted for Wednesday Jan. 10, with ordnance installation following a day later.
Watch NASA TV on Thursday Jan. 11 at 8 a.m. CST for STS-98 pre-flight briefings.

Liftoff is scheduled for Friday, 19 Jan 2001 at 2:11AM EST (that's Thursday night for some of you).

 

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06 January 2001 - STS-98 crewmember Tom Jones (no, not the singer!) is ready for his spacewalks this month - and unlike his last mission, he'll be able to get out the door!

 

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05 January 2001 - Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here. NASA personnel will be working through the weekend to meet the launch schedule. A practice countdown is scheduled for tomorrow.

SpaceRef has their STS-98 section up, and the official Shuttle Press Kit is available.

 

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04 January 2001 - Atlantis awaits a January 19th launch to deliver the latest addition to the International Space Station. Three spacewalks are planned to install the Destiny module, and move Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 from its current location (at the end of the Unity Module) to the end of Destiny.

 

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03 January 2001 - Latest from NASA:

Atlantis Arrives at Launch Pad
In the Space Station Processing Facility, an overhead crane begins lifting the U.S. Laboratory Destiny from its test and integration stand. Photo courtesy of NASA.Wednesday, Space Shuttle Atlantis rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building and arrived at Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Routine launch pad validations are slated to begin Wednesday night. Also on Wednesday, Atlantis' five-member flight crew is expected to arrive at Kennedy at about 4:45 p.m. CST (22:45 GMT). The STS-98 astronauts will participate in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test that will occur later this week.
STS-98's primary payload, the U.S. Destiny Laboratory, arrived at the pad Tuesday night. Atlantis, which is slated to launch no earlier than Jan. 19, will deliver Destiny to the International Space Station.

The rollout was delayed when a computer problem disabled one of the two crawler-transporters that deliver the orbiters to the launchpads.

 

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02 January 2001 - Last month, STS-98 was threatened with a launch delay, due to a problem in Atlantis' booster separation system. Now, a problem with one of the two crawler-transporters, giant tracked vehicles built for the Apollo moon rockets, is causing a one-day delay in the rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launchpad.

Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report hereSpaceflight Now! has ongoing coverage of this mission.

 

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01 January 2001 - Welcome to our coverage of Shuttle Atlantis's flight to the International Space Station! Here's the mission profile from NASA:

Space Station Waits for Destiny
Space Shuttle Atlantis will deliver the U.S. Destiny Laboratory Module to the International Space Station. NASA computer image. The primary objective of STS-98 is to deliver and install the U.S. Destiny Laboratory onto the International Space Station. Destiny is the centerpiece of the station and the site where unprecedented science experiments will be performed. Also, the STS-98 astronauts will relocate Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 from the Unity Node to the forward Common Berthing Mechanism on Destiny. While at the station, the astronauts will conduct three space walks and use Space Shuttle Atlantisí robotic arm to complete these tasks.

Rollout to Pad 39-A is scheduled for tomorrow, with liftoff slated for 18 Jan 2001. Latest KSC Shuttle Status Report here. Orbiter processing started back in September 2000. Ground crew prep started in December 2000.

 

 

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