Discovery Undocks from Station

Space shuttle Discovery
Space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station Tuesday at 3:26 p.m. EDT. Once safely separated from the orbiting complex by about 450 feet, pilot Kevin Ford conducted a flyaround of the space station using only the primary reaction control system steering jets. The smaller vernier jets were disabled before the shuttle docked to the station because of a small leak in one jet. A final separation burn occurred around 5:09 p.m.

The shuttle crew’s newest member, Mission Specialist Tim Kopra, is returning to Earth after 44 days as a member of the station’s Expedition 20 crew, while his replacement, Nicole Stott, begins a three-month stay in orbit.

After delivering 7.5 tons of scientific equipment, food and other supplies for use by the station crew, the shuttle is returning home with 2.5 tons of specimens, used equipment and trash.