Two days after launching from Kennedy Space Center, six Discovery astronauts today plan to hitch their ride to the International Space Station for at least a week.
The orbiter making its final flight is scheduled to dock at the outpost 220 miles above Earth around 2:15 p.m. EST, arriving for the 13th and last time.
Discovery's 13th and last station visit will complete an orbital roundup of all the spacecraft that currently fly to the station, with Russia's Soyuz and Progress vehicles, Japan's HTV and Europe's ATV already docked there, according to The Flame Trench.
The Space Shuttle Discovery was approaching the International Space Station Saturday as part of its final odyssey into orbit, carrying to researchers a new module and a robot.
The shuttle, which blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center here on Thursday, is set to dock with the ISS at 2:15 pm EST. Its 11-day mission includes two spacewalks.
"It has been a pretty tremendous day in space flight for us," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations.
The end of the shuttle program will create a gaping hole in the US space program during a period of belt-tightening and budget freezes, and will leave Russia's space capsules as the sole transit option to the ISS, Discovery News reports.