On the silver anniversary of her first launch into space, the space shuttle Discovery performed a perfect rendezvous and docking to the international space station tonight to begin eight days of docked operations.
Discovery docked with earth's orbital outpost in space at 8:54 pm EDT, as the two flew 222 miles over the northeast Atlantic Ocean and orbital darkness.
It was a perfect approach as docking occurred ten minutes earlier than scheduled and using less fuel than was planned.
Earlier at 8:03 pm, Discovery performed a ten minute back flip so that two of the space station's six crew member could photograph the belly's tiles for traces of damage.
Inside the space station, commander Gennady Padalka, "Space shuttle Discovery, arriving," as he rang the traditional port-of-call bell.
Discovery will remain docked to station for eight days as it resupplies the space station and perform three spacewalks to install a new ammonia tank; retrieve a few experiments from outside; and install a rack to stow extra parts.