International space station.

  Monika
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Astronauts awe-struck by gleaming International Space Station


Glowing in the sunlight, this is the latest stunning shot of the International Space Station, taken from the shuttle Endeavour as it came in to dock.

Astronaut Stephen Robinson was awe-struck when he drew close to the space station, during Endeavour's approach from below.

'To look up and see what humankind could really accomplish in space was just almost impossible to believe. It seemed like science fiction,' he said.

Enlarge

The International Space Station backdropped by Earth's horizon and the blackness of space

'Now here we are with human beings that are living on board. That truly is the amazing legacy of the space shuttle programme.'

The six-strong space shuttle crew brought vital food supplies with them as well as an Italian-made viewing balcony, which will give the astronauts panoramic views of our planet.


By the time Endeavour leaves next week, the space station will be 90 per cent complete. Just four scheduled shuttle flights remain.

The 11 astronauts were in high spirits as they greeted one another in the early hours of Wednesday but it was soon back to business. They started to fix the recycling system that turns urine into water and prepared for the first of three space walks.

The underside of the crew cabin of the space shuttle is exposed as it prepares to dock

Space shuttle Endeavour docked with the forward docking port of the Harmony module

Shuttle astronaut Robert Behnken will have to borrow the upper part of a suit already on the station for today's spacewalk, after the glove heaters and helmet camera failed to work on his own.

Meanwhile, Nasa is assessing a cracked thermal tile and protruding ceramic ring on the space shuttle Endeavour.


'Initially, it doesn't look like we're going to be very concerned about them,' said mission management leader LeRoy Cain.

'But we want to be very vigilant and take a closer look.'








SPOT THE SPACE STATION

A good time to spot the Space Station in the UK is this weekend.

On Saturday it will appear in the West near the horizon at 6.17am and move up and towards the East for three minutes before disappearing.

On Sunday it will appear in the West near the horizon at 6.39am and move up and towards the South-East for four minutes.

For more sighting opportunities go to the Nasa skywatch website



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