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Astronauts Start Key Tasks at International Space Station


The crews of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station have begun eight days of joint operations.

The shuttle arrived at the space station Tuesday, delivering a pair of solar wings, a final truss structure and a water-recycling system.

The first order of business Wednesday is to move the truss structure out of the Discovery and hand it off to the space station's mechanical arm. Crews are expected to install it on Thursday.

The U.S. space agency NASA says astronauts will perform three spacewalks and remain docked at the International Space Stations for eight days.

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 Sandra Magnus, who is scheduled to return to Earth on the shuttle.

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