Monday, March 07, 2011

Discovery leaves space station for last time

Discovery departed the International Space Station at 7 a.m. today to begin its final journey home to Kennedy Space Center.

Hooks and latches released on the forward port of the station's Harmony node and springs gently pushed the orbiter away, ending Discovery's 13th and final visit to the outpost before the shuttle is retired.

"Houston and station, physcial separation," radioed shuttle commander Steve Lindsey.

"Station copies," said Expedition 26 commander Scott Kelly

The two spacecraft were flying about 225 miles over the western Pacific Ocean north of Australia.

During its final visit, Discovery and its crew of six remained docked at the station for eight days, 16 hours and 46 minutes.

Discovery is targeting an 11:57 a.m. Wednesday landing at KSC.

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