Space Shuttle Discovery’s seven astronauts entered the International Space Station (ISS) at 8:50 a.m. EDT today, where they were greeted by the Expedition 11 crew. On the ground, NASA officials provided reporters an update on today’s activities and imagery analysis. The visit to the ISS primarily to test and evaluate new safety procedures. There have been many safety improvements to the Shuttle, including a redesigned external tank, new sensors and a boom that will allow astronauts to inspect the Shuttle for any potential damage.
Two crewmembers, Steve Robinson and Soichi Noguchi, will venture outside the Shuttle three times on spacewalks. The first will demonstrate repair techniques on the Shuttle's protective tiles, known as the Thermal Protection System. During the second spacewalk, they'll replace a failed Control Moment Gyroscope, which helps keep the Station oriented properly. Finally, they'll install the External Stowage Platform, a sort of space shelf for holding spare parts during Station construction. STS-114 will also be the third trip of the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module named Raffaello to the Station. It's essentially a "moving van" that transports supplies to the orbital outpost.