The space shuttle Atlantis docked at the International Space Station on Sunday, delivering spare parts and a Russian module that will help keep the station operational after the two last shuttle visits later this year. The 100-tonne spaceship docked under the command of Ken Ham as the shuttle and station moved around earth at 17,500 mph, Reuters reports. Atlantis is carrying a Russian module that combines a research lab and docking port for Russian and European capsules; its transportation costs were covered by the U.S. as part of a barter agreement among 16 countries over the $100 billion project. The shuttle also brought an equipment rack with new batteries for the station’s solar power system, and a work platform for the station’s Canadarm, the Canadian-build robot arm, as well as a spare communications antenna. Atlantis is due back at the Kennedy Space Center on May 26.
Monday, May 17, 2010