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U.S. shuttle Atlantis undocks from space station

05-24-2010 10:50 BJT

WASHINGTON, May 23 (Xinhua) -- After over one week together in orbit, U.S. space shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station on Sunday morning.

According to NASA TV, Atlantis left the station at 11:22 a.m. EDT (1522 GMT) when the spacecraft were 220 miles above the Indian Ocean, southwest of Australia.

"Take care," the International Space Station's skipper, Oleg Kotov, told his shuttle visitors before undocking.

"We'll see you all on the surface of planet Earth again soon," said shuttle commander Kenneth Ham.

Atlantis lifted off on May 14 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It delivered the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 that will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. Astronauts conducted three spacewalks to install six new batteries for the station.

This is the scheduled final voyage for Atlantis, which has flown 31 missions since it was put into service in 1985. It will have one final assignment: remain on standby in case the last shuttle crew needs a rescue.

Only two shuttle flights remain after Atlantis' flight. Discovery is targeted for launch in September with spare parts and equipment. Endeavour is due to launch in November carrying a 2- billion-dollar, multinational particle detector known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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