Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shuttle, Station Crews Join Aboard Outpost

And then there were 12.

The crews of Endeavour and the International Space Station joined today aboard the orbiting outpost, marking the start of a 10-day stay for the shuttle visitors.

Satellite coverage of the hatch opening and the shuttle crew's entrance to the U.S. Harmony module was spotty.

NASA lost live video signal moments after Endeavour commander Mark Kelly entered the station.

The two crews went straight into safety briefings rather than staging any type of welcome ceremony. There were lots of smiles and chatter, but it pretty much was all business as the two crews got together for the first time.

Coming up a little later today: The astronauts will use the station's robotic arm to attach a spare parts pallet to the outside of the International Space Station.

Two bulky communications antennas, an ammonia coolant tank, a high-pressure gas tank and a spare arm for the station's two-armed Canadian robot Dextre are latched onto the pallet. The extra parts will help extend the station's operational life to 2020 -- an extra five years.

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