Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Discovery docks for power mission


Discovery's crew is welcomed by the space station's current residents

Nasa's space shuttle Discovery has docked with the International Space Station (ISS).

The visiting astronauts are delivering the orbiting platform's fourth and final set of solar arrays.

Installation work will start on Wednesday when the "backbone" segment holding the folded-up solar wings is lifted out of Discovery's payload bay.

The truss will be slotted into place at the starboard, or right, side of the station on Thursday.

Electricity from the new solar arrays will support the expansion of the ISS crew to six people and provide the power necessary to fully exploit its science labs.

Shuttle docking (Nasa TV)
Discovery hooks up to the ISS

Currently, the normal live-aboard complement is three individuals; and the station partners want to double this in May.

Another key mission task is ISS crew rotation.

Discovery is dropping off Koichi Wakata, the Japanese space agency's (Jaxa) first live-aboard station crew member. US astronaut Sandra Magnus will be returning to Earth on Discovery in his place.

The docking occurred at 2120 GMT Tuesday, with hatches opening just under 50 minutes later.

Discovery's mission is the 125th to be made by a shuttle; the 28th to the ISS; and the 36th flight for Discovery itself.

Print Sponsor

Nasa shuttle launched after delay
16 Mar 09 |  Science & Environment
Nasa delays space shuttle launch
21 Feb 09 |  Science & Environment
Grim details of Columbia disaster
31 Dec 08 |  Americas
Space shuttle touches down safely
30 Nov 08 |  Science & Environment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific