Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Atlantis "go" to undock from space station

Mission managers have given Atlantis a "go" to undock from the International Space Station at 4:53 a.m. EST.

Click here to open a NASA TV video player and watch the shuttle's departure.

It will end a roughly seven-day visit that delivered spare parts to the outpost and performed maintenance on three spacewalks.

Atlantis also picked up astronaut Nicole Stott, who is ending an 87-day tour as a station flight engineer and is now returning home as the shuttle's seventh crew member.

After undocking, Atlantis pilot Barry "Butch" Wilmore will fly the shuttle in a loop around the station, allowing crew members to photograph its condition.

Then, after final separation burns around 6:30 a.m. EST, Atlantis will devote the rest of the day to a "late" inspection of shuttle heat shields to be sure they're ready for Friday's planned re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Here's a look at the day in space:

-- 1:28 a.m. Atlantis crew awakes.

-- 1:58 a.m. International Space Station crew awakes.

-- 4:53 a.m. Atlantis undocks from station.

-- 5:22 a.m. Shuttle flies a loop around the station.

-- 6:36 a.m. Atlantis fires thrusters to separate from the station.

-- 9:18 a.m. Atlantis crew begins a final inspection of the shuttle's heat shields.

-- 1:33 p.m. Heat shield inspection completed.

-- 5:28 p.m. Atlantis crew sleeps.

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