Feeds

Endeavour bids adios to ISS

Undocks ahead of final homecoming

Security for virtualized datacentres

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
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
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
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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?
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.