Endeavour docks with ISS
Space shuttle Endeavour has successfully docked with the International Space Station but engineers say some damage was caused to the shuttle's heat shield during launch.tech reviews Updated: Aug 11, 2007 11:06 IST
Space shuttle Endeavour has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) but engineers said some damage was caused to the shuttle's heat shield during launch.
The Endeavour crew on Friday positioned the shuttle alongside the ISS, where they will install a truss that is part of station's solar power system and will deliver supplies and equipment to the ISS crew.
"It was a flawless rendezvous," said NASA Flight Director Matt Abbott at a press conference in Houston, Texas. "Everything was from the book."
Before docking at 18.02 GMT, the Endeavour performed a back flip manoeuvre to inspect the shuttle for damage to its heat shield that it may have sustained during take off.
The damage was about 7.5 by 7.5 cm in diameter on a tile on the underbelly of the space craft and was most likely caused when a piece of ice struck the tile during Wednesday's launch, according to NASA Programme Manager John Shannon.
The spot would be examined more closely on Sunday to help decide what repairs might be needed, Shannon said, adding that such repairs were a new phenomenon.
"We have a rich flight history of tile damage." Shannon said. "In the past we didn't even know we had damage and we flew back home."
Damage to the heat shield - much larger than that discovered on Endeavour - was what led to the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003, in which seven astronauts were killed.
Endeavour blasted off on Wednesday on its first flight into space since that 2003 disaster.