Atlantis undocks from the ISS

by Chris Bergin

Shuttle Atlantis and her crew of six have begun the journey home, following today’s undocking from the International Space Station (ISS).

It has been a successful trip to the ISS, with the installation of Atlantis’ payload – the P3/P4 integrated truss segment and the deployment of its two solar array panels. Stunning images of the station are being taken via Atlantis’ 360 degree flyaround the ISS.

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Atlantis is due to return home on Tuesday morning, while preparations on the ISS continue to move ahead at a high pace, with the undocking of Progress 21, and the arrival of the Expedition 14 upcoming.

Shortly after undocking, Atlantis conducted a flyaround the ISS, taking video and images of the station’s new configuration – with stunning shots of the extra solar arrays shining proudly with the backdrop of Earth below.

In preparation for Monday’s Progress 21 undocking, ISS commander Pavel Vinogradov activated the cargo ship and dismantled the air duct in the hatchway of the Service Module (SM) PrK aft dock.

During removal of the threaded quick-disconnect (QD) screw clamps of the SM docking and internal transfer system (SSVP), the ground restricted thruster firings by the Shuttle and the Russian segment (RS).

Also on Monday, Russia will launch their Soyuz-FG with Soyuz TMA-9 and a three member crew to the ISS.

This will include American/Iranian space tourist Anousheh Ansari, who will stay on the outpost for eight days, before returning with the Expedition 13 crew.

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