Crew Transfers To Space Station
Guess who's coming to dinner? If you're one of the
crewmembers onboard the International Space Station, the
answer is simple... the spacefaring crew of the shuttle
The shuttle docked with the ISS at 10:52 am EDT Thursday,
following an elaborate backflip manuever that allowed the station's
crew to photograph the spacecraft's underside, for evidence of
damage to the tile heat shield.
"Great to see you out the window," ISS crewman Jeff Williams
radioed to Discovery, as the shuttle made its final approach to the
Mission commander Steven Lindsey responded, "Good to see you,
Jeff. We're proceeding along normally. You guys look great."
Preliminary analysis of the photos taken of Discovery from the
ISS show no evidence so far of any damage to the orbiter.
Scientists will also check to insure the approximately 5,000 "gap
fillers" separating some of the heat shield tiles -- which were a
source of concern on last year's Discovery mission -- have stayed
NASA Deputy Shuttle Program Manager John Shannon said Wednesday
an older gapfiller -- installed during Discovery's original
assembly, back in 1982 -- is sticking from under the orbiter's left
wing... but is not likely a concern.
Approximately two hours after docking, the hatches between the
two space vessels opened... and Williams and his station
compatriot, Russian cosmonaut and station commander Pavel
Vinogradov, greeted the shuttle astronauts... as well as the third
ISS Expedition 13 crewmember.
"Welcome, Thomas!" Vinogradov enthusiastically greeted the ESA's
Thomas Reiter, whose arrival marked the first time in over three
years the ISS has had a three member crew.
But Reiter isn't a full member of the crew just yet, however;
that moment won't come until Reiter brings onboard his
specially-fitted seat liner for the Soyuz rescue capsule later