Earth's Gravity Kept Astronauts Waiting at Space Station's Door

Shuttle Astronauts Make Midnight Docking at Space Station
Space shuttle Endeavour is seen by a camera on the exterior of the International Space Station just before its midnight docking on Feb. 10, 2010 during NASA's STS-130 mission. Japan's giant Kibo laboratory is seen in the foreground.
(Image: © NASA TV.)

Astronauts aboard space

Endeavour docked at the space station Wednesday morning at 12:06 a.m. EST (0506 GMT),

But not so during Endeavour's arrival. It took about 45 minutes for the relative motion to damp out. Only

Space shuttle flight

With Endeavour docked at the

But unlike small round

"One of the external forces

While the 11 astronauts

On Earth's surface, the

Spacecraft counter the

The space station is a

But it has modules jutting

"This creates what we call a

Typically, visiting shuttles

So while Endeavour's six astronauts had to wait a bit longer than normal to join their

"It's a lot less common, but

Endeavour's crew, commanded

The astronauts launched

The mission is the first of

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