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Discovery Docks with Space Station

The Space Shuttle Discovery has docked with the International Space Station. In doing so, it did a controlled back flip to enable cameras on the ISS to photograph its belly for damage. So far, there is no indication that the shuttle was damaged on liftoff.

The shuttle's seven astronauts went into the space station Thursday -- possibly the last to visit from a U.S. shuttle for some time, as safety concerns have forced NASA to ground its fleet.

The plan to double-check the craft for damage is possible due to new imaging and data-gathering technology that NASA has introduced to check for problems. But some analysts are wondering if the space agency has created more problems than it has solved.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Kestenbaum is a correspondent for NPR, covering science, energy issues and, most recently, the global economy for NPR's multimedia project Planet Money. David has been a science correspondent for NPR since 1999. He came to journalism the usual way — by getting a Ph.D. in physics first.