When the shuttle docks to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday afternoon, the crew will install the new P5 truss structure (to extend the existing truss or backbone of the ISS) and then begin electrical rewiring of the ISS to receive electricity from solar arrays – the ISS’ main energy source, requiring three spacewalks.
Additionally, German astronaut Thomas Reiter of the European Space Agency who has lived aboard the ISS for the past five months will catch a ride home and in his place, mission specialist Sunita "Suni" Williams will stay to become a flight engineer for Expedition 14 for a six month stint.
The seven member "out-going" crew of Mission 116 is a diverse one in several aspects. Of the crew, which includes five rookie shuttle astronauts, two are Black, two are women, one is a Swede from the European Space agency, and one is of Indian descent.
See a photo of a previous launch of Discovery and of the Space Shuttle Atlantis as seen from the ISS, as well as aerial photographs of Cape Cod and San Diego taken from space on the previous shuttle mission.
For more information and updates, see NASA’s STS 116 Mission page.