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Captain Kirk hails space shuttle Discovery

'Space, the final frontier...'

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The crew of space shuttle Discovery were roused from their slumbers this morning by the theme from Star Trek and a special message from actor William Shatner.

To the backing of Alexander Courage’s famous tune, Shatner declared: “Space, the final frontier. These have been the voyages of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Her 30-year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before.”

The Star Trek theme was runner-up in a public poll to select wake-up songs for Discovery's final mission. The winner, due for space broadcast tomorrow, was Blue Sky by Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

NASA also invited original compositions to form a soundtrack for Endeavour's STS-134 mission, and will put the finalists to a public vote around three weeks before the scheduled launch date of 19 April.

Discovery, meanwhile, is due to undock from the International Space Station at 12:00 GMT as its 39th and final mission winds to a close. On its 13th trip to the orbiting outpost, it delivered vital spares and the Permanent Multipurpose Module, which is now attached to the ISS's Unity node and providing "2,472 additional cubic feet of pressurized volume for storage and scientific use".

Before closing the hatch yesterday, Discovery commander Steve Lindsey thanked ISS commander Scott Kelly for his hospitality. Kelly replied: "It was a very successful time onboard. We enjoyed having you as guests, we're going to miss you, and we're going to miss space shuttle Discovery. Discovery been a great ship and has really supported ISS more than any other shuttle and we wish her fair winds and following seas. Thank you."

NASA has the latest on Discovery's swansong STS-133 mission right here. ®

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