Space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station at 1:54 p.m. EDT.
About an hour before docking, STS-124 Commander Mark Kelly and Pilot Kenneth Ham will guide the shuttle through a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, or back-flip, giving the Expedition 17 crew the opportunity to take pictures of the orbiter’s protective heat-resistant tiles. These photos will be sent to engineers on Earth for analysis.
The STS-124 and Expedition 17 crews are slated to conduct pressure and leak checks to prepare for the opening of the hatches between the two spacecraft, which is scheduled for about 3:50 p.m. They will then greet each other to begin nine days of joint operations.
Mission Specialist Greg Chamitoff is joining the Expedition 17 crew by trading places with Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman. The crew members are also preparing for the first of three STS-124 spacewalks, which Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Ron Garan are scheduled to begin at 11:32 a.m. Tuesday.
Explore further: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up