Space Shuttle Discovery arrives at International Space Station
Saturday, February 26, 2011
The , flying the mission, has successfully rendezvoused and docked with the International Space Station (ISS) today at 18:14 UTC for what is scheduled to be the final time in its career.
Discovery is delivering six astronauts to the orbiting outpost, as well as station parts and supplies including the, the and , the first dexterous humanoid robot in space.
The docking, Discovery's 13th and final scheduled docking, occurred two minutes ahead of schedule, having been originally scheduled for 19:16 GMT today.
The hatch between the space shuttle and the ISS was opened at 20:16 UTC, after which the crew members ofwelcomed the crew of STS-133 aboard the station. The crew then participated in a safety briefing with Expedition 26 commander , while Shuttle Flight Director Bryan Lunney took part in a mission status briefing on the ground which began at 20:50 UTC.
Later on today, crew membersand are scheduled to move the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier-4 from the payload bay using the shuttle's robotic arm to the station's own robot arm for placement on the exterior of the orbital laboratory.
There was a delay in the docking mechanism's ability to make a seal between the two spacecraft during docking operations, so activities occurring later on in the day, including the transfer of ELC-4, may be delayed. This was primarily because of a mis-alignment between the docking systems of the shuttle and station due to gravitational effects. The entire delay took up approximately 40 minutes.
During Discovery's approach to the station earlier on today, the crew of Expedition 26 took pictures of the shuttle's underside from the station's windows in order to assist in analysis of the heat shield of the spacecraft.
NASA officials are debating whether or not to extend the mission an additional day for a photo shoot of the International Space Station, as it is currently host to six docked spacecraft from the United States, Russia, Europe, and Japan. A decision regarding this possibility is expected on Tuesday.
STS-133 is Space Shuttle Discovery's 39th and final scheduled mission into space and the program's 35th mission to the ISS, as well as the 133rd in the entire. There are two flights remaining before the retirement of the fleet that are still in planning: and .
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- "Space Shuttle Discovery launches on final mission" — Wikinews, February 25, 2011
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- "Final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery delayed another day" — Wikinews, October 30, 2010
- "Shuttle Discovery docks with space station" — , February 26, 2011
- William Harwood. "Discovery arrives at space station" — , February 26, 2011
- "NASA STS-133 Mission Information" — , N/A
- Justin Ray. "Mission Status Center" — February 26, 2011
- "NASA Space Shuttle Information" — , N/A
- Irene Klotz. "Shuttle Discovery pays last visit to space station" — , February 26, 2011