Atlantis roundup @T+2

Two days after launch, and the space shuttle Atlantis has successfully docked with the International Space Station on mission STS132.

There was a bit of a debris scare the previous day, but more accurate analysis of the trajectory of the debris meant the station didn’t have to be moved, so docking was rather easier than at one point anticipated, not that the day went entirely without snags.

The shuttle crew were woken at 8:20 BST. They were given the go ahead to perform the burn that would put them in the vicinity of the ISS (the Terminal Initiation burn) 12:40 BST. Once they were in the area, the traditional backflip of the shuttle in the full glare of the ISS high definition camera and laser set on a boom happened – but not quite.

The boom had a literal snag, meaning the camera and lasers couldn’t be brought to bear over the entire shuttle. Although the problem can be resolved, it can’t be done in time for this shuttle’s inspection, so most of the shuttle was covered (as can be seen below) by the backup system and the rest – the left wing – is to be inspected with the shuttle’s own camera after docking.

That nine minute flip occurred at 14:26 BST. Then the shuttle moved round the station in order to arrive at the Velocity Vector – matching the station’s orbital speed and direction, so then it would just need to head forward to dock. It docked at 15:28, events, as always, captured on NASA TV and shown below:

Finally, the crew of the shuttle left their vehicle and arrived on the station at 17:18 BST for that part of the 12 day mission that puts them in there. The welcome ceremony has also been posted to NASA TV’s Youtube Channel:

For those who want to see the station with their own eyes, Heavens Above should provide flyover times for your location (if the orbit is right at this time). NASA keeps people updated on the progress of all missions via its twitter feed.


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