Feeds

Atlantis bids final farewell to space station

Hatches closed as last shuttle mission draws to a close

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The crew of space shuttle Atlantis have said their farewells to the residents of the International Space Station, and closed the hatches between the shuttle and the orbiting outpost for the last time.

Commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley, and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim were joined by ISS commander Andrey Borisenko and his fellow Expedition 28 crew members for a brief ceremony in the station's Harmony node. Ferguson thanked Borisenko for his hospitality, and his team's efforts in unloading the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module.

Earlier today, Magnus and Hurley used the Canadarm2 robo-manipulator to move Raffaello back into the shuttle's cargo bay (see pic). After more than a week's box-shifting to empty the module, it was packed with 5,666 pounds (2.57 tonnes) of waste and old hardware for return to Earth.

 The Raffaello multipurpose logistics module during today's move. Pic: NASA

NASA says: "Over nearly eight days, crews aboard the shuttle and station unloaded 9,403 pounds [4,265 kg] of spare parts, spare equipment and other supplies from Raffaello – including 2,677 pounds [1,214 kg] of food – that will sustain space station operations for the next year."

Between bouts of box-shifting, the combined Atlantis and Expedition 28 station crew members did find time to pose for this fetching snap:

The Atlantis and ISS crew members pose with US flag. Pic: NASA

NASA explains that the US flag flew on the first shuttle mission – that of Columbia STS-1, which launched way back on 12 April 1981.

The agency adds: "The flag returned to orbit on this mission to be presented to the space station crew. It will remain onboard until the next crew launched from the US retrieves it for return to Earth. It will then fly from Earth again, with the crew that launches from the US on a journey of exploration beyond Earth orbit."

The Expedition 28 crew seen in the pic are: JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa; NASA astronauts Ron Garan and Mike Fossum; and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov. "Shuttle and station commanders Ferguson and Borisenko are in the 12 o'clock and six o'clock positions, respectively, on the circle," NASA notes.

Atlantis will undock from the ISS tomorrow. The latest from Atlantis' swansong STS-135 mission is right here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
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
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
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
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
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 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.
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.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.