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Shuttle Discovery docks with space station

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Discovery docks with ISS
  • Shuttle Discovery reaches international space station despite loss of shuttle's radar system
  • Four women are aboard same spacecraft for first time
  • 13-day mission includes three spacewalks, replacement of ammonia tank assembly

(CNN) -- Space shuttle Discovery docked with the international space station early Wednesday despite a broken antenna that knocked out radar tracking aboard the shuttle.

The shuttle docked with the space station at 3:44 a.m. ET. At the time of docking, both spacecraft were traveling 225 miles over the Caribbean sea near Caracas, Venezuela, NASA said.

Commander Alan Poindexter and his crew completed the rendezvous without the use of the shuttle's Ku-band radar, relying instead on other navigation tools to precisely track the space station, NASA said.

The Discovery's seven-person crew now joins the six-person space station crew for more than a week of work together.

It will mark the first time four women have been in space at one time.

Three women -- mission specialists Stephanie Wilson, Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger and Naoko Yamazaki -- comprise part of the Discovery's crew. NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson is already at the space station.

Discovery launched Monday morning from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The shuttle's 13-day mission includes three planned spacewalks, replacing an ammonia tank assembly and retrieving a Japanese experiment from the station's exterior.

It is scheduled to return to Earth on April 18 at 8:35 a.m. ET.

There are only three shuttle missions remaining before the space shuttle fleet is retired.