Shuttle Commander Rick Sturckow was the first to enter the station followed soon after by the rest of the STS-117 crew.
The shuttle and space station docked at 2:36 p.m. CDT while traveling 220 miles above the northeast coast of Australia. Atlantis’ stay is planned for seven days of joint operations. Hatch opening between the two spacecraft occurred at 4:04 p.m. CDT.
Shortly after welcoming the shuttle crew, station Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov and shuttle Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson transferred Anderson’s customized Soyuz seat liner into the Russian spacecraft in place of that of Flight Engineer Suni Williams. The transfer at 7:55 p.m. CDT marked the official swap of Anderson for Williams as a station crewmember. Williams spent 181 days on the station and now is an Atlantis crewmember for the remainder of the mission. She has been in space for 183 days.
Prior to docking, Sturckow flew Atlantis through an orbital back flip while stationed about 600 feet below the space station. The maneuver was documented with long-range, high resolution cameras by Kotov and Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin to document the shuttle’s heat shield.
Mid-morning, Mission Specialist John “Danny” Olivas used a 400 mm camera to get up-close shots of the port orbital maneuvering system. He shot those photos from the crew cabin aft window. During a check Friday night, an area of insulation blanket on the pod was seen to be pulled away from the adjacent thermal tiles. Those photos were downlinked for review by imagery analysts and mission managers.
Following docking, Pilot Lee Archambault and Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester used the shuttle's robotic arm to grapple the 17.8 ton S3/S4 truss, lift it from its berth in the payload bay, and maneuver it for handover to the station's Canadarm2. The S3/S4 truss is the heaviest station payload the shuttle has carried, to date.
After hatch opening, Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Suni Williams used the Canadarm2 to take the truss from the shuttle’s robotic arm. That task was completed at 7:28 p.m. CDT marking the completion of handover of the new truss segment to the station. The truss will remain grappled to the station’s arm overnight and installed Monday in conjunction with the first spacewalk by Mission Specialists Jim Reilly and Olivas.
The first of three planned spacewalks is scheduled to begin just before 2 p.m. CDT Monday and will be staged out of the station’s Quest airlock. Archambault, Kotov and Forrester will position the truss at the edge of the S1 truss using the station’s arm. Reilly and Olivas will connect power cables on the truss, release restraints for the Solar Array Blanket Boxes that hold the solar arrays and the Beta Gimbal Assemblies that serve as the structural link between the truss’ integrated electronics and the Solar Array Wings.
Reilly and Olivas will spend tonight "camped out" inside the Quest airlock, with air pressure lowered to help purge nitrogen from their bodies in preparation for the excursion.