Atlantis Docked to Station

Space shuttle Atlantis
At 11:51 a.m. EST, Commander Charlie Hobaugh backed space shuttle Atlantis into pressurized mating adapter #2 on the International Space Station’s Harmony node. The two spacecraft were flying 220 miles above Earth between Australia and Tasmania at the time they docked.

The shuttle and station crews will open hatches and hold the traditional welcome ceremony at 1:48 p.m. When hatches open, astronaut Nicole Stott’s tenure as a station Expedition 21 flight engineer will come to an end as she joins the Atlantis crew.

Space shuttle Atlantis docked to the station at 11:51 a.m. EST. The shuttle is delivering two pallets carrying more than 20,000 pounds worth of spare equipment too large to be launched into space aboard any other vehicle.

The morning focused on preparations for the rendezvous and docking to the station. Commander Charles Hobaugh and Pilot Barry Wilmore performed a few final corrective jet firings to refine the orbiter’s path to the station and position the vehicle for its rendezvous pitch maneuver 600 feet beneath the station.

After a series of leak checks that should take about two hours, the hatches between the two vehicles will be opened and the two crews will start their joint operations.

Hatch opening will mark the end of Flight Engineer Nicole Stott’s two-and-a-half-month stint with the space station’s crew.