CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space shuttle Endeavour closed in Thursday on the international space station, where three men eagerly awaited the arrival of their ride home.
“Company’s on the way,” Mission Control told space station astronauts Daniel Bursch and Carl Walz.
“We’re just doing some last-minute tidying up before guests come,” Bursch replied.
Endeavour was scheduled to pull up to the 240-mile-high outpost on Friday, ending a two-day chase that began with a flawless launch.
Bursch, Walz and their Russian commander, Yuri Onufrienko, have been living on the space station for the past six months. Endeavour is bringing their replacements as well as a new joint for the station’s balky robot arm.
Thursday marked the 183rd day in orbit for the space station residents. By the time they return to Earth aboard Endeavour on June 17, they will have spent 194 days aloft, a U.S. record.
Endeavour will spend just over a week at the space station. Its astronauts will conduct three spacewalks, one of them to repair the robot arm’s wrist.