The space shuttle Discovery has docked with the International Space Station after a two-day voyage to deliver Japan’s first orbital laboratory. Commander Mark Kelly lined up Discovery with the station as they floated 388 kilometres above the south Pacific ocean. Discovery blasted off from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Saturday afternoon for a 14-day mission.
In addition to delivering the laboratory, the shuttle delivered a new crew member and essential equipment needed to repair the station’s only toilet.
Before berthing, the Discovery performed a backflip so astronauts could take pictures of its underbelly. Engineers will study the images to make sure the shuttle reached orbit with its heat shield unscathed.