Watched the docking live on NASA TV live last night-very interesting
STS-126 MCC Status Report #05
The space shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station at 4:01 p.m. CST, carrying the Leonardo logistics module with over 14,000 pounds of cargo for the complex.
Endeavour Commander Chris Ferguson guided the shuttle to a docking with the station as the two spacecraft flew 212 miles above the northern border of India, near China. Before closing the final 600 feet to the station, Ferguson flew the shuttle through a slow backflip, allowing the station's Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff to take photos that ground experts will review to assess the health of Endeavour's heat shield.
The shuttle and station crews opened hatches and greeted one another at 6:16 p.m., beginning more than a week of joint operations between the two crews. The crews will collaborate on the delivery of the key life support and habitability systems that will enable long-term, self-sustaining station operations for a six-person resident crew. The crews also will conduct four spacewalks to service and lubricate the station's two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints that allow its solar arrays to track the sun.
Transfer of equipment and supplies between Endeavour's middeck and the station began and the Leonardo cargo module will be installed on the station Monday so that its contents can be unloaded.
Endeavour also brought astronaut Sandra Magnus to the station, who will officially take over for Chamitoff as a member of the station crew tonight when her custom Soyuz seatliner is installed. Chamitoff – who will then formally be a mission specialist aboard the shuttle – will return home after 167 days as a station crew member.
The crews used the station robotic arm to hand off the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to the shuttle robotic arm in case it is needed for further orbiter heat shield inspections.
The crew is scheduled to go to bed at 12:25 a.m. Monday and be awakened at 8:25 a.m. The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wake, or earlier if events warrant.
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