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Space station crew welcomes shuttle crew

NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Launch Complex 39A on mission STS 126 at 7:55 PM from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 14, 2008. On this fifteen day mission, a seven person crew will conduct various maintenance tasks to improve operations of the station and in addition will deliver components to enhance the facility for future crews.(UPI Photo/Joe Marino - Bill Cantrell)
NASA's Space Shuttle "Endeavour" lifts off from Launch Complex 39A on mission STS 126 at 7:55 PM from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 14, 2008. On this fifteen day mission, a seven person crew will conduct various maintenance tasks to improve operations of the station and in addition will deliver components to enhance the facility for future crews.(UPI Photo/Joe Marino - Bill Cantrell) | License Photo

HOUSTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The crews of the Endeavour and International Space Station got together after the U.S. space shuttle docked Sunday afternoon, NASA said.

The space station crew greeted the shuttle astronauts after the hatches between the two spacecrafts were opened at 7:16 p.m. EST.

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With commander Chris Ferguson at the controls, Endeavour had docked with the space station's Harmony Node at 5:01 p.m. EST.

Before hooking up with the space station, Ferguson put Endeavour through its rendezvous pitch maneuver, or backflip, so the station astronauts could photograph the shuttle's thermal protection system. The pictures will be sent to Earth for more analysis to make sure the heat shield wasn't seriously damaged during take-off.

Astronaut Sandra Magnus, who arrived aboard Endeavour, will take over as flight engineer from astronaut Greg Chamitoff, who will return to Earth.

The shuttle brought along a refrigerator that will mean space station crew members will be able to have cold drinks for the first time. They also will install equipment to purify all waste water products in the space station, including the crew's urine.

The space agency's ground crew piped in the Rolling Stones rocker "Start Me Up" to get the seven-member crew up and on deck for its first full day in space following Saturday's lift-off from Cape Canaveral.

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