Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Travel News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Shuttle delivers Japanese lab to space station

This videograb released by NASA shows the International Space Station (ISS) seen on June 2, 2008 from the US space shuttle Discovery as the shuttle approaches the station for docking.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) June 2, 2008
The US shuttle Discovery linked up smoothly with the International Space Station on Monday, delivering a bus-sized Japanese laboratory to expand research, and badly-needed parts for a troublesome toilet.

After a two-day trip around Earth, Discovery docked with the orbiting station 338 kilometers (210 miles) above the south Pacific. Two hours later, the shuttle's seven astronauts floated into the ISS, where they exchanged hugs and handshakes with the outpost's three residents.

"You have a beautiful house," US robotics specialist Greg Chamitoff told ISS crew member Garrett Reisman before the hatches opened. Chamitoff is replacing Reisman, who will return to Earth aboard Discovery after a three-month mission.

About an hour before docking, Commander Mark Kelly steered Discovery into a rollercoaster-like maneuver, flipping the shuttle just 600 feet (180 meters) below the station to allow ISS astronauts to photograph its underside.

The 360-degree maneuver, two days after the shuttle lifted off in Florida, has become a regular safety feature during flights allowing the space agency to ensure that the shuttle is free of potentially devastating damage.

The images taken by the station crew members were downloaded to engineers on Earth who were inspecting them for signs of damage to the shuttle's thermal shield.

Ground cameras spotted several pieces of foam coming off Discovery's external fuel tank during Saturday's launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, but NASA has downplayed the risk posed by the debris.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has meticulously scanned the shuttles' heat shields since the Columbia disaster in 2003, when a crack in its protective tiles led to its explosion, killing its seven astronauts.

The Discovery team, which includes Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, will deliver and help install the second of three parts Japan's Kibo, or "hope," laboratory.

Once in place, the 11.2-meter (36.7-foot) long, 14.8-tonne (32,600-pound) pressure module will be the single largest room on the ISS, with space for four scientists.

Kibo's 10-meter (33-foot) robotic arm, which will manipulate materials and equipment for science experiments, will also be pulled from the shuttle and attached to the laboratory.

"The Kibo module is ... just a beautiful piece of engineering," astronaut Michael Fossum, who will lead the spacewalks to install the Kibo lab, said Sunday.

Two astronauts will step out of the station on Tuesday for a spacewalk to prepare the module for its removal from the shuttle's cargo bay on the same day. Three spacewalks are planned during the mission.

The shuttle also brought parts to fix a high-tech Russian-built space toilet.

The ISS commode malfunctioned last week, forcing the three ISS astronauts to rig up a still-troublesome bypass for liquid waste.

Discovery is taking along a spare pump from Russia, which the two cosmonauts on the station are expected to install as soon as the shuttle arrives.

Until the repair is complete, the three-member station crew will use the shuttle's toilet -- or they will use more emergency bags that Discovery is also bringing.

Asked who would do the plumbing repair, Fossum said: "The fact is that the toilet is Russian hardware ... (but) if they need a hand and some wrenches we'll help out."

Related Links
Shuttle at NASA
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Shuttle News at Space-Travel.Com

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Foam chunks in Discovery launch no problem: NASA official
Cape Canaveral, Florida (AFP) May 31, 2008
Five thin pieces of insulating foam broke off the external fuel tank during the launch of the shuttle Discovery Saturday, but they are not believed to have damaged the shuttle, a NASA official said.

  • George Law Joins Rocketplane Global
  • Russia And Europe To Build New Manned Spacecraft
  • North Carolina Students Win National Team America Rocketry Challenge
  • NASA Successfully Completes First Series Of Ares Engine Tests

  • NASA sets Thursday for GLAST launch
  • Two Ariane 5s Are Readied For Launches In May And June
  • Arianespace Completes The Assembly Of Another Ariane 5
  • Zenit Rocket Powers A Successful Sea Launch Campaign

  • Space shuttle blastoff damaged launch pad: NASA
  • Foam chunks in Discovery launch no problem: NASA official
  • Shuttle delivers Japanese lab to space station
  • Japan astronaut's fans celebrate shuttle launch

  • Kibo: Japan's research unit at the International Space Station
  • Discovery heads to space station with Japanese lab
  • Discovery set to freight Japanese science lab to ISS
  • Japan's laboratory ready to join space 'family'

  • NASA to launch 'Buzz Lightyear' into space
  • French skydiver fails record freefall bid
  • Japanese plan to brew 'space beer'
  • Medvedev To Discuss Space Center And Some Arms Dealing During Kazakh Visit

  • Suits For Shenzhou
  • China Launches New Space Tracking Ship To Serve Shenzhou VII
  • Three Rocketeers For Shenzhou
  • China's space development can pose military threat: Japan

  • A Biomimetic Jumping Microrobot
  • Robot conducts Detroit orchestra
  • Canada rejects sale of space firm to US defense firm
  • The Future Of Robotic Warfare Part Two

  • Phoenix Lander Robotic Camera Sees Possible Ice
  • Five Years Of Mars Express
  • Phoenix Scoops Up Some Martian Soil
  • Energy Levels Reach Record Low For Fading Spirit Of Mars

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright Space.TV Corporation. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space.TV Corp on any Web page published or hosted by Space.TV Corp. Privacy Statement