Endeavour docked with the International Space Station at 3:59 CST this afternoon, bringing a new crew and another segment of the station's backbone, the Port One (P1) segment of the Integrated Truss System.
The rendezvous and docking of Endeavour with shuttle Commander Jim Wetherbee at the controls went smoothly. Docking occurred about 248 statute miles above the South Pacific off the southeastern coast of Australia.
After successful leak checks, the last hatch between the two spacecraft was opened at 5:31 p.m. The Expedition 5 crew - Commander Valery Korzun, NASA ISS Science Officer Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev - welcomed the new arrivals to the orbiting laboratory to begin a week of docked operations. After greetings, the first item on the agenda was a safety briefing by Korzun.
Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox, NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit and Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin later installed their custom seatliners in the Soyuz spacecraft that could serve as a return vehicle in the unlikely event it became necessary to leave the station unexpectedly. Their call saying they had completed the installation and pressure checks of the Russian SOKOL re-entry suits made them station crewmembers. It also officially ended the Expedition 5 increment, after 171 days, 3 hours and 33 minutes.
Expedition 5 was launched last June 5 and has been on the station since June 7. The trio will return to Earth with the Endeavour crew, Wetherbee, Pilot Paul Lockhart, Mission Specialists Michael Lopez-Alegria and John Herrington.
During the week together at the station, Expedition 5 crewmembers will conduct extensive briefings for their successors, familiarizing them with their new home and the location and function of its equipment and experiments. They also will brief the Expedition 6 crew on the inventory and location of supplies aboard the station.
On Tuesday the shuttle and station crews will lift the new P1 truss segment from Endeavour's cargo bay with the shuttle's robotic arm, operated by Wetherbee. He will hand the P1 off to the Canadarm2, the station's arm, which Bowersox and Whitson will use to position it for installation.
Once remotely operated bolts have secured P1 to the S0 truss center, Lopez-Alegria and Herrington will begin the first of three spacewalks to make electrical, fluid and data connections between it and the rest of the station and to outfit the new truss segment.
Subsequent spacewalks will be made Thursday and Saturday. Each of the three spacewalks will be about 6½ hours long.
The next STS-113 mission status report will be issued Tuesday morning, or earlier if events warrant.
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