Feeds

Atlantis bids final farewell to space station

Hatches closed as last shuttle mission draws to a close

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
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?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
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.