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The technological miracle of docking with the space station


Discovery glides to smooth space station docking

Of all the technological marvels  today, I think that the ability to fly up from the earth and dock with an orbiting space station is the greatest. How they can do it without hitting and damaging it is fantastic.
Below is an article on a docking and a great picture.

    JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Houston--Shuttle commander Frederick "C.J." Sturckow, forced by a leaky steering jet to use Discovery's big maneuvering thrusters instead of preferred fine-control vernier engines, deftly guided the spaceplane to a flawless docking with the International Space Station Sunday night to cap a two-day rendezvous.

Approaching from directly in front of the laboratory complex as both spacecraft sailed 220 miles above the central Atlantic Ocean at 5 miles per second, the shuttle's payload bay docking port engaged its counterpart on the front end of the station's Harmony module at 7:54 p.m. CDT, about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

The shuttle Discovery, was then successfully docked to the International Space Station.

"Station and Houston, from Discovery, capture confirmed," astronaut Patrick Forrester radioed from the shuttle.

Over the next 90-minute orbit, the docking mechanisms locked the two craft firmly together and leak checks were carried out to confirm a tight seal before hatch opening later in the evening.

"Hey Pat, before the hatches get opened there and we have a hard time finding C.J., the orbit one shift wanted to pass along what a great job he did on this first ever vern-failed docking," astronaut Chris Ferguson radioed from mission control. "Did a fantastic job. And you'll be happy to know it occurred on the 25th anniversary of the maiden flight of Discovery. So would you pass that along to him for us?"

"OK, Houston, we appreciate those words and thanks for the great support and the great calls by the ground today, a couple of key saves were made," replied Sturckow, the first astronaut to make four trips to the space station. "So thank you very much."

A few minutes later, at 9:33 p.m., hatches were opened and Sturckow, wearing a bright red baseball cap, led his crew into the space station.

F-111 C/C:
It IS amazing and isn't it orbiting at like 17,000 mph!?

Yes so I believe Aard. The Discovery has to come up from Earth and dock with it on the way by at a speed like that. It has to be possible because they are doing it every time.


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