5 p.m. CST Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-133 MCC Status Report #05
HOUSTON – Space shuttle Discovery docked to the International Space Station at 1:14 p.m. CST Saturday with its cargo of a new station module, equipment and supplies for the orbiting laboratory.

After a delay to let the relative motion between the two spacecraft, with a combined mass of 1.2 million pounds, dampen out, hatches separating crews were opened at 3:16 p.m. Shuttle astronauts, Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Steve Bowen, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott moved into the station.

Following handshakes, hugs and a welcoming ceremony by the station crew, Expedition 26 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka, Alexander Kaleri, Dmitry Kondratyev, Paolo Nespoli and Catherine Coleman, Discovery astronauts received the standard station safety briefing.

The crews promptly went to work, with Barratt and Stott preparing to use the station’s robotic arm to pluck Express Logistic Carrier 4 from the shuttle cargo bay and hand it off to the shuttle’s arm, operated by Drew and Boe. After moving the base of Canadarm2, the shuttle arm was to hand ELC4 back for installation on the Earth-facing side of the station’s starboard truss. There it will be used for stowage of spare parts, including a spare radiator launched aboard Discovery.

As the shuttle slowly approached the station, with both spacecraft moving at 17,500 mph, it paused about 600 feet below it to do the standard backflip. Nespoli and Coleman used cameras with 400 mm and 800 mm lenses for a minute-and-a-half photo session, shooting numerous pictures of the shuttle’s thermal protection system. The photos will be sent down for analysis by experts to check for any damage.

After both crews focus on transfer of equipment and supplies Sunday, Drew and Bowen will do 6.5-hour spacewalks on Monday and Wednesday. On Tuesday the station arm, again controlled by Barratt and Stott, will take the Permanent Multipurpose Module from Discovery’s cargo bay and install it on the Earth-facing port of the station’s Unity node.

The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wakeup or earlier if warranted.

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