San Francisco (CA) – The space shuttle Endeavour has successfully docked with the ISS (International Space Station) Harmony node. According to NASA, Commander Mark Polansky docked Endeavour at 1:47 p.m. EDT while flying approximately 220 miles above the Gulf of Carpentaria, off the north coast of Australia.
Following leak checks, the hatches between the two craft are expected ti open at 3:43 p.m., creating the first 13-member crew in space history. At 5:13 p.m., Endeavour Mission Specialist Tim Kopra and space station Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata will “swap” crew affiliations when they exchange Soyuz seatliners.
Wakata has spent 124 days in space, 122 days as a space station Expedition crew member. He is the first astronaut to span three Expedition crews – 18, 19 and 20. When he lands aboard Endeavour, he will have served as a member of five space crews, including STS-119 and STS-127.
Endeavour’s 16 day mission is expected feature five spacewalks to complete construction of Japan’s Kibo laboratory. The new component will allow International Space Station (ISS) experiments to be exposed to space.
The STS-127 crew comprises Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Dave Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Tim Kopra and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette.