Space shuttle Discovery arrives at space station

June 3rd, 2008 - 5:28 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 3 (DPA) Space shuttle Discovery docked Monday at the International Space Station after the day-and-half journey from Earth, carrying an enormous Japanese-made research module and a small Russian-made pump for a malfunctioning lavatory. “Capture confirmed,” said a Discovery crew member to Earth control officials.

At the time of docking at 1803 GMT, the station was orbiting over the South Pacific, 350 km above Earth’s surface.

The seven-member crew included Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who will help install the largest part of Japan’s Kibo - or “hope” - capsule during two of three spacewalks planned for the 14-day mission.

Also on board Discovery is new station crew member Greg Chamitoff, who will replace returning flight engineer Garrett Reisman, who will end a three- month stay aboard the outpost when Discovery undocks on June 11.

The first space walk is slated for 1532 Tuesday.

The three-person crew already at the space station is urgently awaiting a pump and other spare parts to fix the only toilet on the space station. A temporary fix for the astronauts is very uncomfortable, according to NASA.

The mission marks a halfway point to mothballing the US shuttle programme since the 2003 Columbia disaster, with only 10 flights left before NASA closes down the aircraft.

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