Docking Day!

Atlantis is docked at the International Space Station (ISS). Earlier this morning the crew completed the final Terminal Initiation burn to syncronize orbit, appearing behind the station and then gliding gracefully underneath where it performed the Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver - a backflip under the station to allow the astronauts on board to take detailed photographs of the heat shield tiles.

View of capture from the docking ring

Over the next hour or so both the ISS and Atlantis crews will perform securing and leak checks as the two vehicles become firmly attached as one space vehicle. Hatches will then be open and the docked portion of mission will begin straight away. They waste no time and get straight to work with safety briefings and moving all the equipment into place. First up is the grappling of one of the equipment carriers in the paylaod bay, and the official handover of Nicole Stott to become a member of the Atlantis crew.

Keep an eye on NASA TV for live video of the crew ingress.

[update: 12:40pm EST] Leak checks complete. Hatch opening any minute.

[update: 1:10pm EST] Pressure equalization underway.

[update: 1:14pm EST] Harmony node and PMA hatches open. Only Shuttle hatch remains.

[update: 1:28pm EST] All hatches are open, Shuttle and ISS crews meet in space.

Atlantis crew arrives at the ISS

Images credit: NASA TV
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