Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Space station controllers use camera to see loose crane
Posted: March 5, 2000

  ISS logo
ISS logo. Photo: NASA
The International Space Station continues in good shape as it circles the Earth every 92 minutes with no significant problems being worked by flight controllers in Houston and Moscow.

Earlier this week one of the television cameras aboard Zarya was activated to allow engineers to view the small crane mounted on the side of the module that has been determined to be in a "soft dock" configuration rather than the expected "hard dock" position.

While it has been determined that the crane cannot float out of its housing, and thus does not pose a safety issue to the ISS, the desire is to attempt to seat the crane properly in its housing, called a worksite interface. During the next visit of a shuttle crew to the ISS, astronauts Jim Voss and Jeff Williams will reseat the crane in its housing before moving on to other tasks.

Battery cycling on Zarya continues with power levels well within workable ranges. Currently, the Unity module power levels are 430 watts.

Meanwhile, Atlantis is nearing completion of processing for its first flight in a year and a half after undergoing significant upgrades. The orbiter's payload bay doors are scheduled to be closed Monday with rollover to the Vehicle Assembly Building set for March 13. Launch remains targeted for no earlier than April 13.

While vehicle processing continues, mission planners continue to work timelines for the crew that will perform stowage and maintenance tasks that will be carried out during the flight.

The International Space Station is in an orbit of 235 by 226 statute miles. Since the launch of Zarya in 1998, the ISS has completed more than 7,320 orbits.

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