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Atlantis Undocks from Station for the Final Time of Shuttle Era

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:39 am via: NASA
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Atlantis undocked from the station for the final time of the space shuttle era at 2:28 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The first landing opportunity for Atlantis is scheduled at Kennedy Space Center at 5:56 a.m. on Thursday. The deorbit burn would occur at 4:48 a.m. during the shuttle’s 200th orbit.

The crews of space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station said their goodbyes and closed the hatches between the two spacecraft at 10:28 a.m. EDT Monday. The hatches between the spacecraft were open for seven days, 21 hours and 41 minutes.

Earlier Monday, STS-135 Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus and Pilot Doug Hurley used the the station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to grab the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module and detatch it from the station’s Harmony node at 6:46 a.m. The two shuttle crew members maneuvered the robotic arm to return Raffaello to Atlantis’ cargo bay at 7:48 a.m.

The 21-foot long, 15-foot diameter Raffaello is filled with nearly 5,700 pounds of unneeded materials from the station that will be brought back to Earth. Over nearly eight days, crews aboard the shuttle and station unloaded 9,403 pounds of spare parts, spare equipment, and other supplies from Raffaello – including 2,677 pounds of food – that will sustain space station operations for the next year.

The STS-135 crew provided a recorded message Saturday as a tribute to Atlantis, the entire Space Shuttle Program and team. In the message, Commander Chris Ferguson spoke about the U.S. flag displayed behind them that was flown on the first space shuttle mission, STS-1. It was flown on this mission to be presented to the space station crew and it will remain displayed aboard the station until the next crew launched from the U.S. retrieves it for return to Earth. It will fly from Earth again, with the next crew that launches from the U.S. on a journey of exploration beyond Earth orbit.

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