Shuttle Endeavour docks with space station

Space shuttle Endeavour has docked with the international space station 220 miles up.

Commander Christopher Ferguson guided the shuttle to a smooth docking late Sunday afternoon. His ship's radar worked just fine, despite earlier trouble with the antenna.

The linkup kicks off a huge home makeover that will allow twice as many astronauts to live on the space station beginning next year.

An hour before the docking, Ferguson guided Endeavour through a 360-degree backflip. Mike Fincke and another space station resident took zoom-in pictures of the somersaulting shuttle. The images will help NASA determine whether Endeavour sustained any damage during liftoff Friday night.

At least two pieces of debris have been spotted so far in launch pictures.

Once docked, Endeavour's crew will be welcomed by the station's three residents: American astronauts Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff, and Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov.

Endeavour astronaut Sandra Magnus will replace Chamitoff on the station, and he will return home on the shuttle after six months in space.

On Monday, the crews will begin one of the 15-day mission's top priorities: transferring a cargo module carrying nearly 15,000 pounds of gear to the station.

New sleep stations, a toilet and a water recycling system are among the furnishings needed so the station can double its crews to six people next year and get more science research done.

The mission also includes four spacewalks to repair a damaged joint that rotates solar wings on the station's starboard side.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...