Beautiful Atlantis docks with the ISS

by Chris Bergin

Following the most stunning Rendezvous Pitch Manoeuvre (RPM) to date, Shuttle Atlantis has docked with the International Space Station (ISS).

In what was always going to be one of the highlights of STS-115, Atlantis performed her orbital ballet with the station, backflipping at 17,500 mph above the stunning backdrop of Earth.

**L2 STS-115 Coverage: ALL related handbooks, from Final Flight Plan to Robotics to EVA Presentations (600mb of 115 presentations downloadable) NOW INCLUDING:  STS-115 Rendezvous Handbook**.

**STS-115: LIVE COUNTDOWN AND LAUNCH Update Page** – **Flight Day 2**  **Flight Day 3 – Live**

Key Points/Newsflashes: Stunning RPM (RBAR) complete. Docking confirmed. First RPM images now on L2. Strange Protruding Gapfiller spotted (article to follow). Payload removal ongoing.

Refer to live update thread for up to the second updates.

A 78 meg Super Hi Res recording of the RPM downloadable on L2. ALL STS-115 video coverage (press conferences, etc.) is available for free on the STS-115 section, via


Atlantis’ mission is to supply and install the huge P3/P4 truss and solar arrays to the ISS, the first assembly flight since the tragic loss of Columbia and her seven crew.

The crew of six on board Atlantis will soon greet their hosts on the ISS, compromising of Pavel Vinogradov, Jeffrey Williams and Thomas Reiter on Expedition 13. Williams and Vinogradov are coming to the end of their six month stay on the orbital outpost.

In preparation for Atlantis’ arrival, Vinogradov shut down the troublesome Elektron O2 generator, while Williams powered off the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer), this is to avoid potential contamination issues between the ISS and orbiter.

Earlier in the day, Williams configured two cameras with reformatted flash cards, microdrives and recharged batteries for recording the RPM of Atlantis.

The RPM allows crew on the ISS to take images of Atlantis’ underbelly, which are then downlinked to the ground for closer examination for any potential issues, such as gap fillers, or chips in the TPS (Thermal Protection System).

Williams also set up the bypass cable for the VTR (video tape recorder) for passing video to and from the station on the Lab’s starboard side and allowing the station to receive video from the Orbiter on the Lab’s port side.

Williams also started the repressurization process on PMA-2 (Pressurized Mating Adapter #2) in preparation for ingress and stowage after the Shuttle’s arrival.

‘Houston, Capture confirmed,’ leading to congratulations from Russian controllers who were monitoring the docking. ‘Docking confirmed, congratulations NASA.’

More will follow later.

(Video section is FREE, but you need to sign up as a member of the forum to enter the video section of the site. We only use your e-mail to send you your password. It will not be used for spam etc.)

** Job Opportunities** 

              LIVE UPDATE PAGES


Related Articles