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Monday, 23 April, 2001, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Shuttle crew joins space station
Station commander Yury Usachev welcomes the visitors, AP/Nasa
Station commander Yury Usachev welcomes the visitors
The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour opened the hatches and met their counterparts on board the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.

"Hey, somebody's upside down. I think it's us," US shuttle commander Kent Rominger said as he floated into the station. He was met by station commander Yuri Usachev.

Endeavour docked with the ISS on Saturday, but could not open its hatch until the air pressures in the shuttle and the station were equal.

Hey, somebody's upside down!

Kent Rominger, shuttle commander
Until then, the two crews had to make do with waving to each other through a porthole.

The pressure on board Endeavour was lowered to safeguard the two astronauts carrying out a spacewalk on Sunday.

The hatches between Endeavour and the station will stay open for 10 hours before preparations begin for another spacewalk on Tuesday. They will open again once the walk is over, Nasa said.

The visit is the first by a shuttle since the current ISS crew began their four-and-a-half-month stay.

Unloading supplies

Later on Monday, the shuttle crew will lift the Italian-built Raffaello supplies module out of the shuttle and attach it to the space station, where it will be unloaded on Tuesday.

Shuttle Endeavour over Sahara, AP/Nasa
The shuttle docked on Saturday
The two US astronauts living on the space station, James Voss and Susan Helms, will also walk the giant arm brought up by the shuttle into position.

At the moment, it is on a pallet, but it needs to be fixed to the Destiny module. The arm is needed for future building work on the platform. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and US astronaut Scott Parazynski will have to make a second spacewalk to wire it up.

Endeavour is due to leave the space station on Saturday and return to Earth two days later.

The next visitor to the station is due to be a Russian Soyuz ship carrying the first tourist in space, Californian multi-millionaire Dennis Tito. The Soyuz is due to lift off on Saturday.

Building work on the space station, a co-operative project between five space agencies, is due to continue until 2006.

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See also:

22 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Shuttle astronauts armed and ready
21 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Endeavour docks with space station
19 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Endeavour lifts off with space crane
07 Feb 01 | Sci/Tech
Destiny lab lifts off
02 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
Crew enters historic home
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