Atlantis docks with space station
The nearly two-day trip from Earth ended about 220 miles (350 kms) above the southeastern part of Pacific Ocean.india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 18:36 IST
Space shuttle Atlantis docked with the international space station on Monday, arriving with the first addition to the orbiting space lab in more than 3 1/2 years.
Atlantis commander Brent Jett eased the space shuttle into the space station's docking port where latches automatically fastened the two spacecraft together at 6:48 am EDT (1248 GMT).
The nearly two-day trip from Earth ended about 220 miles (350 kilometers) above the southeastern part of the Pacific Ocean.
"Pretty good," astronaut Jeff Williams radioed Mission Control from inside the space station.
With both vehicles moving at 17,500 miles per hour (28,160 kph), the tag-up with the space station required Atlantis to make a series of jet firings that ended with Jett taking manual control of the spacecraft about 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the space station.
At about 600 feet (180 meters) from the station, Jett maneuvered the spacecraft into a 360-degree pitch so that the space station's three-man crew could photograph images of the shuttle's belly and transmit them to NASA engineers, who will look for any damage from liftoff to the spacecraft's thermal skin.