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Space Shuttle Discovery Docks With International Space Station


The U.S. space shuttle Discovery has docked at the International Space Station to deliver a set of solar wings to boost power on the orbiting outpost.

Discovery docked with the space station Tuesday, two days after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Discovery is also dropping off a new water-recycling system designed to convert urine into drinking water.

The shuttle crew includes Japan's Koichi Wakata, who becomes the first Japanese to live at the space station. He will be trading places with American astronaut Sandra Magnus, who is scheduled to return to Earth on the shuttle.

Discovery will be docked at the space station for eight days and its crew will perform three spacewalks.

On Monday, the shuttle crew members spent the day inspecting their space craft for damage that may have occurred during liftoff. NASA has given extra attention to any damage to the shuttle's heat shield tiles since the 2003 shuttle Columbia disaster.

A piece of insulation foam during launch punched a hole in Columbia's wings, allowing hot gases into the craft as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere. The shuttle disintegrated, and all seven astronauts on board were killed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.


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