The hatches opened at 4:04 p.m. today and the STS-118 astronauts entered the International Space Station, where they were greeted by the Expedition 15 crew. The visitors arrived at the station when Space Shuttle Endeavour docked at 2:02 p.m. while flying over the South Pacific.
The schedule for the remainder of the day is busy for the two crews as they prepare for Saturday’s installation of the Starboard 5 (S5) truss onto the station and the first STS-118 spacewalk. The S5 will be attached to the end of the Starboard 4 truss to set the stage for the addition of the Starboard 6 truss and its solar arrays during a future shuttle mission.
In other activities today, the two crews will transfer supplies and equipment between Endeavour and the Station.
At 5:51 p.m. EDT, the crew will activate the Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System, which is designed to reroute power from the station to a visiting shuttle. If the transfer system works as expected, mission managers could elect to extend STS-118’s mission from 11 to 14 days and increase the number of STS-118 spacewalks from three to four. A decision on a possible extension could occur Saturday or Sunday.
Endeavour and the station linked up while flying over the South Pacific.
Animations: + Approach to Station | + Backflip | + Docking
Kelly and Mission Specialist Barbara Morgan wrapped up a long day of work Thursday with a quick message from orbit. Kelly said he felt privileged to be there and that everything was going well. Morgan said that she was having a great time and was looking forward to docking tomorrow and seeing the Expedition 15 crew.
“When we first came to orbit it took a little getting used to,” Morgan said. “I felt like I was upside down the whole time.” She joked that when you put something aside, it floats off and you have no idea where it went. “We’ll have to do a treasure hunt later.”