The seven STS-118 crew members reached their destination today when Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station at 2:02 p.m. EDT. STS-118 will continue the on-orbit construction of the station with the addition of the Starboard 5 (S5) truss segment.
The astronauts will enter the station for the first time about 3:21 p.m., following the completion of leak and pressure checks between the two spacecraft. The STS-118 crew and the station’s Expedition 15 crew will then begin joint operations, including preparations for Saturday’s installation of the S5 truss and spacewalk. The two crews will also begin cargo transfers between Endeavour and the Station.
At 5:51 p.m. EDT, the crew will activate the Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System, which is designed to reroute power from the station to a visiting shuttle. If the transfer system works as expected, mission managers could elect to extend STS-118’s mission from 11 to 14 days and increase the number of STS-118 spacewalks from three to four. A decision on a possible extension could occur Saturday or Sunday.
Endeavour and the station linked up while flying over the South Pacific.
Kelly and Mission Specialist Barbara Morgan wrapped up a long day of work Thursday with a quick message from orbit. Kelly said he felt privileged to be there and that everything was going well. Morgan said that she was having a great time and was looking forward to docking tomorrow and seeing the Expedition 15 crew.
"When we first came to orbit it took a little getting used to," Morgan said. "I felt like I was upside down the whole time." She joked that when you put something aside, it floats off and you have no idea where it went. "We’ll have to do a treasure hunt later."
Explore further: Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, trick cable job