Feeds

Endeavour bids adios to ISS

Undocks ahead of final homecoming

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Space shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station at 03:55 GMT this morning, marking its last departure from the orbiting outpost ahead of its return to terra firma on Wednesday.

Endeavour seen from the ISS shortly after undocking. Pic: NASA TVBefore waving a final goodbye, the venerable vehicle had a couple of last duties to perform on its swansong STS-134 mission.

After a fly around to allow crew to take detailed photos of the ISS's structure, Endeavour crept to within roughly 950ft of the station to put the Sensor Test for Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation (STORRM) system through its paces.

NASA explains this is "an automated docking system that uses a vision navigation sensor flash lidar and high definition docking camera" which "operates very much like a stop sign reflecting headlights".

The agency elaborates: "On the docking port of the space station are specialized retro-reflectors - which are made from material similar to that used on stop signs - that bounce light back with minimal scattering. The lidar targets the retro-reflectors to calculate the range and line-of-sight angle measurements that the system then provides to the relative navigation software."

The job done, Endeavour then fired its engines to gradually fall behind the ISS.

The STS-134 mission's primary goal was delivery of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the $2bn piece of kit designed to "advance knowledge of the universe and lead to the understanding of the universe's origin by searching for antimatter, dark matter and measuring cosmic rays".

During 11 days of joint docked operations, Endeavour mission specialists Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and Michael Fincke carried out four spacewalks, during which they completed several maintenance tasks and stowed Endeavour's 50ft inspection boom on the ISS to act as an extension to the station's robotic arm.

Once it's back on the ground, Endeavour will be prepared for display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The last scheduled shuttle launch is Atlantis's STS-135, slated to blast off on 8 July. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.