UPDATE: Atlantis Docks with ISS

UPDATE: Atlantis Docks with ISS

UPDATE: This has been updated with the current status of the orbital debris issue.

Space shuttle Atlantis successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) today.

The STS-135 crew docked with ISS at 11:07 am EDT. Their mission is delivering supplies and equipment to the ISS to ensure that it could operate for as long as a year without supplies that are intended to be taken to the ISS by two companies, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp., under NASA’s “commercial cargo” program. SpaceX has had two successful test launches of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle, one of which also successfully tested its Dragon spacecraft. Orbital has yet to make its first flight of the Taurus 2 launch vehicle or its Cygnus spacecraft. NASA is hoping that both companies will be ready for operational flights to ISS early in 2012.

Meanwhile, on Sunday there was concerned that STS-135 and the ISS might have to dodge a piece of orbital debris on Tuesday. According to NASA, U.S. Strategic Command was tracking a piece of debris from a Russian satellite, Cosmos 375, that might come close to the orbiting facility about noon that day and require a thruster burn to move out of the way. Cosmos 375, launched in 1970, was one of the first satellites launched as part of the Soviet co-orbital antisatellite (ASAT) program.

On Monday, however, NASA’s Bob Jacobs tweeted that it had been determined the debris did not pose a threat.

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