Discovery and her crew of seven are on their way to the international space station today, with docking slated for 5:13 pm EDT. SpaceLaunchNews.com will have continuing LIVE coverage throughout today.
Discovery's second day on orbit yesterday was packed and very busy according to the crew. From the set-up of some experiments; the testing and readying the space suits which the crew will use in a few days; to the multi-hour survey of the orbiter's heat shield for any nick or damage caused by debris striking the shuttle during launch.
"Everyone did just great on their first day on orbit," Discovery's commander Lee Archambault said on Monday. "I couldn't have been happier with the way everyone [his crew] responded... ", the commander continued.
Discovery will perform a series of jet firings during today to guide the orbiter into a ballet of maneuvers which will ultimately see the two dock 220 miles above earth.
During the seven days of joint docked operations, the crew will lift out of Discovery's payload bay the Starboard 6 Truss segment, the final huge twin sets of solar arrays. The Starboard 6 - when attached - will increase the space station's power in support of a permanent six person crew and the multitude of new modules running more experiments.
Discovery's current crew member, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, will begin his three month stay aboard the space station. Wakata will replace current resident Sandy Magnus who has been in space since November.
Discovery's other crew members include pilot Tony Antonelli, and mission specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson and Richard Arnold.