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Atlantis docks with ISS, crew prepares for spacewalk

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This view of the nose of the space shuttle Atlantis was provided by an Expedition 23 crew member during a survey of the approaching STS-132 vehicle prior to docking with the ISS. A NASA photo.

NEW DELHI (BNS): Space shuttle Atlantis has arrived at the International Space Station on its final mission to the orbiting outpost.

Atlantis docked with the space station at 10:27 (EDT) Sunday.

The shuttle approach and docking went smoothly. Commander Ken Ham flew the shuttle through the rendezvous pitch maneuver, the backflip to enable three station crew members in the Zvezda service module to take 398 photos of Atlantisí thermal protection system, a NASA statement said.

After a series of leak checks, the Expedition 23 crew welcomed the shuttle crew onboard and provided them with a station safety briefing before beginning the first tasks of the joint mission.

Then the crew, Ham, Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers, promptly got to work with initial transfers of equipment and supplies. Spacesuits were among the first items to go to the station.

Monday, Reisman and Bowen are scheduled to do the first of three 6.5-hour spacewalks. In preparation, all Atlantisí crew members gathered for an hour-long spacewalk procedure review before their Sunday bedtime.

During the spacewalk they will install a second station space-to-ground Ku-band antenna and a spare parts platform on Dextre, the two-armed robotic Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator.

They also will loosen battery bolts on the port-6 truss segment in preparation for the other spacewalks. Atlantis brought to the station six new 375-pound batteries, to be installed there during the second and third spacewalks.

Sellers and Caldwell Dyson used the stationís robotic arm to transfer a cargo carrier from Atlantis to the armís mobile base system to prepare for the spacewalks.

A piece of orbital debris that had been followed closely by flight controllers passed the station at a distance of more than 10 miles just over an hour after docking.

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