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US Shuttle Docks at International Space Station

The crew of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery has docked at the International Space Station.

After the hatches are opened for a welcoming ceremony, Discovery crew member Nicole Stott and space station engineer Tim Kopra will exchange titles and positions.

Kopra is scheduled to go home on the shuttle at the end of this mission, while Stott will begin a stint on the space station as flight engineer.

Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida late Friday. The mission involves bringing 8,000 kilograms of new equipment for the space station, including a new freezer.

The cargo also includes eight mice to live in space for several months as part of an experiment on bone disease.

Only six more shuttle missions remain before the space shuttle program is retired. After the shuttle stops flying, the U.S. space agency NASA plans to move on to the Constellation program, which aims to return humans to the moon by 2020.