Space Shuttle Endeavour arrived at the International Space Station today at 12:14 CEST (10:14 GMT) after chasing it in space after a textbook launch on Monday. The crews have now started their combined operations
he hatches between the Space Shuttle and Space Station were opened after leak tests at 13:38 and ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori and his five crewmates floated in the Space Station at 14:36 today. They were welcomed by Expedition 27 astronauts, including ESA’s another Italian astronaut, Paolo Nespoli. The two Italians were the first astronauts to meet after the hatches were opened
he installation will be done by careful choreography of the Space Shuttlerobot arm and ISS robot arm: the huge instrument will be picked up by the Space Shuttle’s arm from the cargo bay ofEndeavour and handed over to ISS arm, which will crane the AMS-02 to the far-away attaching point on the upper side of the ISS central truss.
Roberto Vittori will play an important role in these robotic manoeuvres.
During the 16-day STS-134 mission the astronauts from Endeavour will do four spacewalks and also install spare parts and micrometeoroid shields to the Space Station. After these works and in total 36 Shuttle visits, the orbital outpost is ready for a multitude of uses, ranging from performing fundamental science experiments to preparing for the exploration of deep space.
Science on DAMA mission
Roberto’s mission has been named as DAMA after the mystical form of matter – ‘dark matter’ – that fills the universe with even more strange dark energy, according to theories. AMS-02 will detect this ‘dark matter’ and antimatter by observing the cosmic rays, helping us hopefully to better understand the origin and structure of the Universe.
In addition, Roberto will act as a test subject for two ESA life science experiments and perform six studies sponsored by the Italian space agency, ASI, in technology, medicine, biology and material science.
Endeavour is scheduled to depart the Station in early morning hours of Monday 30 May (CEST) and land at the Kennedy Space Center on 1 June.