Shuttle Due To Land Wednesday
After several minutes of tearful goodbyes, crews onboard the
shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station closed the
hatches separating the two space vehicles Sunday.
"As my time draws to a close here, I'm filled with a lot of
different emotions and I have a lot of blood, sweat and tears that
I've left on board the international space station," said departing
Expedition 16 crewmember Clayton Anderson, according to Reuters.
"It's a very wonderful place."
Discovery undocked from the ISS at 0532 EST as they flew over
the South Pacific.
STS-120 Pilot George Zamka backed the orbiter about 400 feet
from the station and performed a fly-around to allow crew members
to collect video and imagery of the station in its new
configuration (shown below). He completed the final separation
engine burn at 1915.
The shuttle crew members are using the shuttle robot arm and the
50-foot long Orbiter Boom Sensor System to conduct a late
inspection of the thermal protection system, according to NASA.
The crew will spend Tuesday preparing for landing. Discovery's
first landing opportunity is at 1302 EST Wednesday at Kennedy Space
During its stay at the station, which began October 25, the
STS-120 crew continued the on-orbit construction of the station
with the installation of the Harmony Node 2 module and the
relocation of the P6 truss.
The crew installed Harmony October 26 and did four spacewalks at
the station. During the third spacewalk, the crew installed the P6
truss and solar array pair in its permanent location outboard of
the port truss.
As ANN reported, the fourth
spacewalk was changed during the mission so that the crew could
repair a torn solar array on the P6 truss. Following the successful
repair work, the crew was able to fully deploy the solar array.
Discovery also delivered a new station crew member, Flight
Engineer Daniel Tani. He replaced Anderson, who arrived at the
station in June with STS-117 and spent five months onboard the
(Images courtesy of NASA)