SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
After two days of orbital pursuit, Space Shuttle Discovery and the STS-116 crew reached the International Space Station. The two spacecraft linked up at 5:12 p.m. EST as they flew over southeast Asia.
The arrival of Discovery sets the stage for the continuation of station construction and a week of joint operations. Inside Discovery’s payload bay is the P5 integrated truss structure. The STS-116 crew will conduct three spacewalks to install the P5 and to reconfigure and redistribute power generated by the station. The first spacewalk is scheduled to kick off at 3:42 p.m. Tuesday.
Also on board the shuttle is the station’s next crew member. Astronaut Sunita Williams will join the Expedition 14 crew about an hour after she enters the station for the first time. The hatches between Discovery and the station are slated to open shortly after 7 p.m.
STS-116 is also delivering supplies and equipment to the station. Most of the supplies are located in a small pressurized logistics module called SPACEHAB, which is located in the payload bay.
Discovery is slated to stay at the station until Dec. 18. STS-116 is the 20th shuttle mission to visit the station.
*STS-116 Resources* + STS-116 TV Schedule http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/mission_schedule.html