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Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 00:43 GMT
Relief crew arrives at ISS
Space shuttle Endeavour docking with the ISS, AFP
Endeavour is delivering a big building block
The relief crew for the International Space Station (ISS) has arrived at the orbiting platform, after a two-day space shuttle journey.

Endeavour blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US, on Saturday after nearly a month of delays.


The first goodbye is very emotional, and the second one gets a little less emotional, and by the time you get to the third goodbye, people just want you to leave

Commander Kenneth Bowersox
It is delivering another massive building block for the ISS. Three of the seven astronauts on board are scheduled for a four-month stay on the space station.

They will take over from Expedition Five, the current resident crew of astronaut Peggy Whitson and cosmonauts Valery Korzun and Sergei Treschev. Expedition Five has been aboard the platform for almost six months, about seven weeks longer than planned.

Its extended stay came about because the space shuttle fleet had to be grounded while cracked plumbing in the orbiters' fuel lines was repaired. Endeavour's mission was then delayed by bad weather.

Bell-ringing

The station's new commander, Kenneth Bowersox, said the delays took some of the drama out of his final farewells with his family.

"The first goodbye is very emotional, and the second one gets a little less emotional, and by the time you get to the third goodbye, people just want you to leave," he said before departing.

Cracks in metal liners inside Atlantis and Discovery spacecraft, AP
Cracks led to the suspension of all shuttle flights
The launch went ahead when rain held off at one of the two overseas emergency landing strips in Spain.

Docking came at 2159 GMT on Monday, as the two spacecraft, travelling at eight kilometres per second (five miles per second), passed over the South Pacific.

Peggy Whitson marked the occasion by ringing the ship's bell aboard the space station three times and calling out "Endeavour arriving" - a tradition dating back to the first space station commander, Reuters news agency reported.

Bowersox, astronaut Don Pettit and cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin will take over from the departing crew of three. Collectively they are known as Expedition Six.

See also:

11 Nov 02 | Science/Nature
19 Oct 02 | Science/Nature
09 Oct 02 | Science/Nature
05 Aug 02 | Science/Nature
19 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
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