Space shuttle arrives at space station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The six STS-115 astronauts entered the International Space Station for the first time at 8:30 a.m. EDT Monday, joining the station's Expedition 13 crew.

NASA said the crews immediately began focusing on STS-115's major task: the installation and outfitting of the 35,000-pound P3/P4 integrated truss structure that includes solar arrays, batteries and other electronics designed to double the space station's power capability.


The astronauts were to use the shuttle's robotic arm to transfer the truss to the station's arm. The truss is to be attached to the space station Tuesday, followed by three spacewalks to outfit and prepare the truss for operation.

Mission specialists Joe Tanner and Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper were to begin a new pre-spacewalk procedure Monday called "camping out," entering a space station airlock where they will remain until Tuesday morning's first spacewalk.

NASA said the procedure will allow an earlier spacewalk start by reducing the amount of time typically required for spacewalk preparations.

STS-115's other crew members are Commander Brent Jett. Pilot Chris Ferguson, and mission specialists Dan Burbank and Steve MacLean, a Canadian Space Agency astronaut.


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