May 19, 2000: US Airmen Lead STS-101 Mission to Reequip, Repair the ISS


On May 19, 2000, Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched as part of the STS-101 mission to repair and reequip the International Space Station, according to NASA. The overall mission clocked in at just under 10 days.

The repairs included (but were not limited to) a communications antenna replacement, and the installation of smoke detectors and cooling fans, and astronauts brought everything from an IMAX camera to sewing kits, NASA writes. STS-101 crew members also performed a space walk.

“The EVA [extravehicular activity, a technical term for a space walk] marked the fifth space walk for construction of the ISS, the 49th conducted from a space shuttle, and the 85th overall conducted by U.S. astronauts,” NASA writes. “During the six-hour, 44-minute EVA, Mission Specialists James Voss and Jeffrey Williams secured a United States-built crane installed on the station last year; installed the final parts of a Russian-built crane, Strela, on the Pressurized Mating Adapter-1 that connects the Unity node to the Zarya control module; replaced a faulty antenna for one of the station’s communications systems; and installed several handrails and a camera cable on the ISS exterior.”

Strong winds delayed three initial April launches, but on May 19, 2000,  Atlantis took off at 6:11 a.m. EST from Launch Pad 39A, commencing the mission, NASA writes. You can watch the boarding and launch in the video below, posted by the International Astronautical Federation:

The mission was led by two now-retired US Air Force colonels — Commander James Halsell Jr. (who more recently made news of a criminal nature, reports) and Scott Horowitz (NASA’s former associate administrator for explorations systems, according to Bloomberg). The crew also included now-former USAF Lt. Gen. Susan Helms,  two now-retired US Army colonels —  Jeffrey N. Williams and James S. Voss — American civilian PhD Mary Ellen Weber and Russian cosmonaut Yury Vladimirovich Usachev.

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