Sunday, March 06, 2011

Shuttle & Station Crews Bid An Orbital Adieu

Six astronauts aboard Discovery and a half-dozen on the International Space Station parted ways today as hatches between the craft were closed in advance of the shuttle's departure early Monday.

"We're going to miss you," station skipper Scott Kelly told Discovery commander Steve Lindsey and his crew during a bittersweet farewell ceremony.

"But most of all, we're going to miss Discovery. Discovery has been a great ship, and has really supported the International Space Station, more so than I think any other space shuttle. And we wish her fair winds and following seas."

Discovery is in the midst of its 39th and final flight. After its wheels stop on Kennedy Space Center's shuttle runway on Wednesday, the fleet-leading orbiter will be prepped for display in a museum -- most likely the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

Discovery is slated to depart the station at 7 a.m. Monday. A looping, one-lap flyaround will begin at 7:30 a.m. and likely will afford awesome views of the outpost with the final U.S. pressurized module berthed at the complex.

You can watch the undocking and flyaround live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right side of this page to launch our NASA TV viewer and be sure to refresh this page for periodic updates.

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