Space Shuttle Endeavour Readies for ISS Docking

By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2010-02-09

After inspecting their spacecraft for any launch damage, the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour began Feb. 9 to prepare for an early Feb. 10 docking with the International Space Station. Once there, the crew over three space walks will begin constructing the final U.S. portion of the space station.

Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the station shortly after midnight Feb. 10.

Endeavour's primary mission will be the delivery of the Tranquility node, which will add additional room for crew members and many of the space station's life support and environmental control systems. Attached to the node is a cupola, which houses a robotic control station and has seven windows to provide a panoramic view of Earth, celestial objects and visiting spacecraft.

While Commander George Zamka, pilot Terry Virts, and mission specialists Kay Hire and Stephen Robinson used the shuttle's arm and its orbital boom sensor system extension to survey Endeavour's right wing for launch damage, mission specialists Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken checked out the spacesuits for the spacewalks before preparing spacewalk equipment and supplies for transfer to the station.

Among the last activities of the crew day was a checkout of rendezvous tools and installation of a centerline camera. The camera looks out through the center of the docking ring to help Zamka guide Endeavour to the station's Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 docking port. The ring is the first part of the shuttle to contact the station and helps to firmly attach them to one another.

NASA officials indicated the Endeavour's launch caused no serious damage, although the space agency said there were incidents of foam loss, but none appeared to hit the shuttle.

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