Space Shuttle Discovery is today scheduled to dock with the International Space Station at 14:35 CEST (12:35 UT). The Shuttle astronauts are due to enter the Station two hours later.
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The STS-120 crew spent their first full day in orbit inspecting the Shuttle’s heat shield to discover if any damage occurred during the climb into orbit. Initial reports indicate no visible damage, although engineers and flight controllers on the ground will continue to analyse the data over the next few days.
The hatches between the two spacecraft are due to open at 16:33 CEST (14:33 UT). The new arrivals will be welcomed on board by the resident ISS Expedition 16 crew of Commander Peggy Whitson, and Flight Engineers Yuri Malenchenko and Clayton Anderson.
Amongst the seven STS-120 crew members is ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who becomes the third Italian to visit the ISS after Umberto Guidoni (2001) and Roberto Vittori (2002 and 2005).
Joint operations between the two crews will begin shortly afterwards at the start of a challenging mission which includes five spacewalks within eight days.
Scheduled to kick off at 12:28 CEST (10:28 UT) Friday, the first spacewalk will see the temporary installation of the Italian-built Node 2 module, also known as Harmony.