The Shuttle will pull away from the Space Station at about 1:30 in the morning. The hatches between the two ships have already been closed and the four Atlantis astronauts are now getting ready for the return home on Thursday. Lead Flight Director Kwatsi Alibaruho says Atlantis will take some unique pictures of the Space Station as it leaves.
“The Station will be in an orientation that it has not been in before during the Shuttle fly-around. So we expect to see portions of the spacecraft that we’ve never really gotten good, direct, high-resolution photography of in the past.”
The Shuttle is set to land early Thursday morning in Florida. Alibaruho says the end of the program is more of a reality than ever now.
“I think it’s fair to say that we experience vacillations between intense pride at how well this mission has gone and sometimes being somewhat freaked out for lack of a more technical term. The finality of our service in this mission and the finality in the program, it hits you with greater force the closer you get to the end.”
Atlantis has spent the past week and a half re-supplying the Space Station with food and other necessities that will last more than a year.