- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
- Oh my God! Costco lists Bible as fiction, Ron Burgundy memoir as gospel
- Sarah Palin responds to Martin Bashir’s resignation, praises media
- Obama to send 2 Gitmo terror suspects back to Algeria
Farewells for 2 space crews and for Discovery
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. (AP) - The space shuttle and space station crews hugged goodbye Sunday after more than a week together, but saved their most heartfelt farewell for Discovery.
On its final voyage after nearly three decades, Discovery, the most traveled rocketship ever, will be retired following this week’s return to Earth.
The hatches between Discovery and the International Space Station were sealed Sunday afternoon, setting the stage for the shuttle’s departure first thing Monday.
“We’re going to miss you,” the space station’s commander, Scott Kelly, told the six shuttle astronauts. “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, I think, than any other space shuttle. We wish her fair winds and following seas.”
Shuttle skipper Steven Lindsey nodded in agreement, then shook hands with Kelly. Lindsey noted that all the mission objectives had been accomplished: The new storage unit carried up by Discovery was installed and unloaded, leaving behind an empty, pristine compartment ready to serve its purpose.
Lead flight director Royce Renfrew radioed up congratulations to the two crews, before the hatches slammed shut. He said he was “really proud to take Discovery home at the very top of her game,” and he credited the astronauts in large part. “You guys rock,” he said.
Mission Control gave Discovery’s astronauts two extra days at the orbiting outpost. They took advantage of the bonus time to empty the storage unit of all the gear that went up inside it. The bonus days stretched the entire mission to 13 days on top of the 352 days already logged during Discovery’s previous 38 missions.
In their last hour together, the 12 astronauts amused themselves in the new 21-foot-long, 15-foot-wide storage compartment. Taking turns a few at a time, they performed somersaults in the center of the chamber, bounced off the walls, and floated through with outstretched arms like underwater swimmers.
The astronauts were having so much fun that Mission Control was sorry to interrupt. “I hate to ring the recess bell on you,” Mission Control radioed, reminding the shuttle crew of one last job remaining before the hatches needed to be shut.
Immediately after undocking, Discovery will fly a victory lap of sorts around the orbiting lab, essentially for picture-taking. Then the shuttle astronauts will pull out an inspection boom and survey their ship for any signs of micrometeorite damage.
Landing is scheduled for Wednesday.
Aboard the space station, meanwhile, the crew hopes in the next week or two to unpack the humanoid robot that was left behind.
The robot, named R2 for Robonaut 2, is the first humanoid in space.
Mission Control, meanwhile, is monitoring a piece of space junk _ an old rocket segment _ that is threatening to come too close to the space station on Wednesday. Experts will assess the risk to the station following Discovery’s undocking and determine whether the complex will have to move out of the way. The shuttle is not expected to be affected by the debris, officials said.
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- HARPER: 'Knockout game' not a myth to liberal Sharpton
- American teacher shot and killed at Benghazi international school
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
White House pets gone wild!