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Discovery Close to Catching Space Station
Discovery's payload bay Image above: A video camera aboard Discovery captured this view of the payload bay. Image Credit: NASA TV
The two-day chase will come to a close today when Space Shuttle Discovery docks with the International Space Station. The orbital linkup is scheduled to take place at 5:05 p.m. EST.
The STS-116 crew will begin rendezvous operations around 11:37 a.m. today. Commander Mark Polansky will guide Discovery through a back-flip maneuver about an hour before docking to allow the station’s Expedition 14 crew to take pictures of Discovery’s heat shield.
Discovery, which launched Saturday, is carrying the P5 integrated truss structure in its payload bay. The STS-116 crew will conduct three spacewalks to install the P5 and to reconfigure and redistribute power generated by the station.
Also onboard 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 at about 7:02 p.m.
*STS-116 Resources* + STS-116 TV Schedule http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/mission_schedule.html