At 11:07 am EDT Commander Chris Ferguson guided space shuttle Atlantis into pressurized mating adapter #2 on the International Space Station’s Harmony node. The two spacecraft were flying about 240 miles high, east of New Zealand, at the time they docked.
This was the 12th and final time Atlantis docked to the space station. It was the 46th shuttle docking to a space station, nine to the Russian Mir station and 37 to the International Space Station. Atlantis performed seven of the nine Mir dockings. This was the 86th space shuttle rendezvous operation and the 164th “proximity operation” in the history of the Space Shuttle Program, where a shuttle conducted operations in close proximity to another spacecraft.
The shuttle and station crews will open hatches and hold the traditional welcome ceremony at about 1:19 p.m. Atlantis’ crew of Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim will join Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov of Russia, Satoshi Furukawa from Japan, and NASA’s Ron Garan and Mike Fossum.
The combined crew of 10 begins more than a week of docked operations, transferring vital supplies and equipment to sustain station operations once the shuttles are retired.