Space shuttle Endeavour docked with the International Space Station (ISS) for the 12th and the last time on Wednesday keeping harmony with its swansong mission, NASA said.
Just before the docking time, Commander Scott Kelly steered the craft doing a “backflip rotation” to permit station chief Dmitry Kondratyev and ISS flight engineers Cady Coleman and Paolo Nespoli to capture hundreds of images of the shuttles thermal tiles for later ground study searching possible damages.
The 12 day joint operation will commence today with the omission of the Express Logistics Carrier 3 which is carrying a high-pressure oxygen tank, a spare ammonia tank, 10 circuit breakers and two S-band antennas located in Endeavour’s cargo bay.
The chief objective of the STS-134 mission is to install the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Endeavour’s mission specialists Andrew Feustel, Greg Chamitoff and Michael Fincke, however, are tasked with a variety of preservation works during four planned spacewalks.
Endeavour will return to Earth on June 1 putting an end to a 25-mission career which commenced on May 7, 1992. Its last destination will be the California Science Center in Los Angeles.