December 16, 2011
ISS018-E-040794 (17 March 2009) --- An overhead close-up view of the exterior of Space Shuttle Discovery's crew cabin, part of its payload bay and docking system was provided by Expedition 18 crewmembers on the International Space Station. Before docking with the station, astronaut Lee Archambault, STS-119 commander, flew the shuttle through a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver or basically a backflip to allow the space station crew a good view of Discovery's heat shield. Using digital still cameras equipped with both 400 and 800 millimeter lenses, the ISS crewmembers took a number of photos of the shuttle's thermal protection system and sent them down to teams on the ground for analysis. A 400 millimeter lens was used for this image.
Topics: Manned spacecraft, Human spaceflight, Space Shuttle program, Rendezvous pitch maneuver, Space rendezvous, Space Shuttle thermal protection system, STS-116, STS-119, STS-118, Space Shuttle, International Space Station, Spaceflight