Discovery docks with the ISS

by Chris Bergin

Shuttle Discovery has caught up to the International Space Station (ISS), and docked with the outpost at 3:54pm UK time on Flight Day 3 of STS-121.

Highlights of the day’s events included the stunning Rendezvous Pitch Manoeuvre (RBar) and the handshake and greetings between Jeffrey Williams, Pavel Vinogradov and the crew of STS-121 following docking and hatch opening.

**STS-121: Launch: July 4 LIVE Launch/Debris/Flight Day 1** – **STS-121: Flight Day 2 Live Updates**

**STS-121: Flight Day Three LIVE (Discovery docked)**


Both ISS crewmembers spent 90 minutes each for continuing to collect and prepack hardware slated for return on the Shuttle, as reported by the ISS On Orbit report.

In the Lab module, Williams set up the RWS (Robotics Work Stations) and DOUG (Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics) software for the upcoming SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) activities ULF1.1, specifically for the OBSS (Orbiter Boom Sensor System) grappling on FD3.

Vinogradov prepared PBA (Portable Breathing Apparatus) stowage by removing the PBA units from their ZSR (Zero-G Stowage Rack) lockers and placing them back in the RS (Russian segment), preparing them for the PBA tank to be delivered on ULF1.1.

Williams meanwhile started the repressurization process on PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter #2) in preparation for ingress and stowage after the Shuttle’s arrival. (PMA-2 will be the docking port for Discovery)

The crew prepared and configured the camera and camcorder equipment that they will use for the photo/video documentation of Orbiter approach and RPM (Rbar Pitch Manoeuvre).

For this approach, Discovery will carry out a repeat of her stunning head over tail flip below the ISS, as the two ships race over the planet at 17,500 mph. The RBar allows ISS crew members to take images of an orbiter’s underbelly, so as to check for any TPS (Thermal Protection System) damage to her tiles.

The RBar has been completed, with images now being downloaded to the ground. Docking sequence cue cards were carried out ahead of hatch opening, which happened about an hour later.

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