STS-97 As Narrated By The Astronauts
STS-97 launched on November 30, 2000 and the Endeavour arrived at the space station three days later. Cargo included a new laptop, a hard drive for a Russian laptop, headsets for a two-way teleconferencing system, tools, food and water. Also included was the second truss segment, labeled P-6, that was installed during the first spacewalk. P-6 components included a large solar array wing that would help provide power. The first of a planned set of three radiators was also deployed. A second spacewalk had Mission Specialists Joseph Tanner and Carlos Noriega making a visual inspection of the photovoltaic arrays on the newly added truss and improving tension on an array that had gone slack. Noriega also moved cables to a new connector to improve the flow of power from the P-6 batteries and removed the cover from a power conditioner. Then, the spacewalkers installed the S-Band Antenna Assembly that had been left by STS-92 in its permanent location.
Once the Endeavour crew retired for the day, the station crew began theirs. The new additions meant that they could open up the Unity module, install electrical outlets and air ducts, and hook up power feeds to the S-Band antenna and Early Communication System. They also replaced a malfunctioning air-conditioning unit with a new one that had been that had been brought up by the Progress. During a press conference, the station crew blasted Korolev controllers for unreasonable scheduling expectations. They explained that certain tasks took longer in zero G than they had on the ground.
On Day 8 of STS-97, Noriega and Tanner went out for their third and final spacewalk. Their activities included retensioning the starboard solar array and installing a cable on Unity that would connect to a centerline camera meant to assist the addition of a laboratory module. Another addition was the Floating Potential Probe, which would measure the possible electrical output of plasma around the station. At the end of their spacewalk, they took photographs of the new additions to the space station.
On Day 9, the station and shuttle crews worked together for the first time to transfer cargo to the space station. Rubbish was transferred to the shuttle to go back down. The two crews also conducted a structural test that studied the the dynamics of the joined space shuttle and station. Houston conducted its first test of the Floating Potential Probe and decided that there was little danger of arcing between the space station and surrounding plasma. The next day, the station and shuttle crews said their goodbyes and the Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station. Endeavour completed its mission on December 11 with a perfect touchdown at the Shuttle Landing Facility.
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