Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Atlantis begins final flyaround of station

Atlantis pilot Doug Hurley began a shuttle's final flyaround of the International Space Station around 3:30 a.m., about an hour after the orbiter became the last to undock from the outpost.

From Atlantis' aft flight deck, Hurley will steer the orbiter through a half-lap over the top of the outpost at a distance of 675 feet.

The maneuver will offer new views of the station, which is twisted 90 degrees from its normal flyaround position.

In about 45 minutes, at 4:18 a.m., Atlantis will fire its engines to separate from the station and begin a shuttle's final journey home.

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