June 8, 2011

First-ever Photos Of Shuttle Docked At Space Station

NASA released on Tuesday the first ever images of a U.S. space shuttle docked at the International Space Station (ISS).

The pictures of the shuttle Endeavour were taken last month by astronauts aboard a departing Russian spacecraft, and show the ISS together with one of the shuttles that helped build the complex over the past ten years.

"It is the first ever image of a space shuttle docked to the International Space Station," NASA said.

Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli took the shots on May 23, as he and Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev and NASA astronaut Cady Coleman left the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft bound for Earth.

Once their vehicle was about 600 feet away from the ISS, Mission Control Moscow commanded the orbiting laboratory to rotate 130 degrees, a move that allowed Nespoli to capture digital photographs and high definition video of shuttle Endeavour docked to the station.

The Soyuz landed in Kazakhstan and was taken to Moscow for routine post-landing analysis.  NASA and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, then processed the imagery as part of the standard disposition of spacecraft cargo.

Additional images and high definition video are being processed and will be posted on NASA's website. The still images can be viewed at http://go.nasa.gov/stationportrait.