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Endeavour undocks and heads for home

Touchdown tomorrow

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Space Shuttle Endeavour last night undocked from the International Space Station at the end of a 12-day stay at the outpost and in anticipation of a landing tomorrow at Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

The shuttle bade farewell to the station at 20:25 EDT (00:25 Tuesday GMT) at the end of mission STS-123 which saw astronauts deliver the "Japanese Experiment Logistics Module - Pressurized Section" of the Kibo laboratory and grapple at some length with the final element of the ISS's "Mobile Servicing System" - Canada's "Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator", known to its mates as Dextre.

STS-123 also delivered Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, who replaces European Space Agency astronaut Léopold Eyharts aboard the ISS.

The next visitor to the station will be the ESA's Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle, which blasted off on 9 March from the Guiana Space Centre and is due to dock on 3 April bearing vital supplies.

Space Shuttle Discovery, meanwhile, has a "launch target" of 25 May for lift-off on mission STS-124 to deliver Kibo's "Pressurized Module" and robotic arm to the ISS. ®

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