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Discovery Docks Sans Radar

Space Shuttle Discovery arrived at the International Space Station early this morning. Rod Rice reports that because of a failed antenna system discovery had to dock with the station without the help of radar.


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Lead Flight Director Richard Jones says they made it look easy. 

“The crew flew the rendezvous profile flawlessly.”

It was the first time in ten years astronauts had to perform the maneuver without the help of radar.  The antenna failure that caused the problem also prevented a large amount of data to be sent back to Earth.  Jones says the first order of business was to remove a shuttle hard drive containing the data.

“And we gave that to an ISS crew member who put that hard drive into a station computer, and that was the process by which they’re getting things down.”

The antenna failure also means there were no pictures of the Discovery crew available until they docked with the space station.

Jones says the problematic communications may also affect crew e-mails and personal videos.

“In terms of how big of an impact, I think we’ll get a better feel for that once we start the whole process of trying to get mail to the crew and trying to get their video highlights down on the ground.  I think will get a better understanding in the days to come.”

Tomorrow’s agenda includes preparing to unload tons of supplies and experiments.

STS docking
ISS023-E-020054 (7 April 2010) — This front-on, 800mm view of the top part of Discovery’s cabin was provided by one of the Expedition 23 crew members onboard the International Space Station. The shuttle was in the midst of a back-flip, performed to enable the station’s cameras to survey it for possible damage. The rendezvous and subsequent docking occurred early on April 7. Once the Discovery crew joins the Expedition 23 crew aboard the orbital complex, nine men and four women will begin several days of joint activities, including three spacewalks.