Feeds

Discovery bids adios to ISS

Undocking today, returns home Thursday

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Space shuttle Discovery is preparing to undock later today from the International Space Station following the successful completion of mission STS-128.

The decoupling is due to take place at 19:26 GMT. Discovery will return to Earth on Thursday carrying the Leonardo Multi-purpose Logistics Module and departing Expedition 20 specialist Tim Kopra, who arrived aboard Endeavour on mission STS-127 back in July. He's replaced by flight engineer Nicole Stott.

Before sealing the hatches between shuttle and ISS at 03:41 GMT this morning, Expedition 20 and Discovery astronauts said their goodbyes for the benefit of the cameras:

Discovery and Expedition 20 crew bid farewell. Pic: NASA

STS-128 comprised eight days of joint operations between the Discovery crew and ISS residents. Astronauts carried out three spacewalks to "replace experiments outside the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory, and install a new ammonia storage tank and return the used one".

They also replaced a failed rate gyro assembly and installed avionics systems cables in preparation for the arrival of Node 3 "Tranquility", slated to lift-off aboard Endeavour on mission STS-130 on 4 February next year.

The six-windowed cupola being mated to Tranquility. Pic: NASA

Tranquility represents the "last major United States addition to the space station", and comprises of expanded living space and a "six-windowed cupola" (pictured above being mated to Tranquility). Kirk Shireman, International Space Station program deputy manager, enthused: "This flight will, I think, grab the public's attention. It's just going to be a really, really neat module for those on board.

"The dream of being able to go out and just have an unencumbered view of space - we'll have it. You can open up all the windows and look around and really feel like you're out there." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.