Feeds

Endeavour bids adios to ISS

Undocks ahead of final homecoming

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.