Accessibility links

Breaking News

Shuttle Astronauts Attach Logistics Module to International Space Station


Astronauts have attached the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the International Space Station, which holds equipment to expand the living quarters on the space station and carry out other improvements. VOA's Jessica Berman has more.

A day after the space shuttle Endeavour docked with the space station, astronauts successfully linked the giant cargo container to the International Space Station.

Kirk Shireman is deputy program manager for the space station with the U.S. space agency, NASA. Shireman says the operation went extremely smoothly.

"The docking was fantastic," said Kirk Shireman. "It's always beautiful to see two large space vehicles come together so gracefully. And the crews, both ISS and shuttle crews, performed flawlessly in that docking."

The crews will soon begin unloading extra bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchenette, as NASA prepares to double the number of astronauts living and working aboard the space station to six some time next year.

Also in the cargo container is a water recycling system that will convert urine into drinkable water.

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the International Space Station program, which began with the launching of the first element of the International Space Station, the Russian-built Zarya space module.

Again, NASA deputy program manager Kirk Shireman:

"On Thursday, we will have completed our 57,509 orbit of the Earth," he said. "So, quite a lot of hardware, quite a lot of work and quite a lot of distance traveled by the ISS so far."

On Tuesday, two of Endeavour's astronauts will perform the first of four complicated space walks to repair and lubricate massive joints that turn the space station's giant solar panels toward the Sun. One of the joints has been stuck with metal shavings. The joints must work properly for the solar arrays to track the sun for maximum power. The astronauts also will perform preventive maintenance on the second joint.