4 p.m. CDT Monday, July 18, 2011
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-135 MCC Status Report #21
HOUSTON – Atlantis and International Space Station crew members said their goodbyes and closed hatches between the two spacecraft at 9:28 a.m. CDT, ending seven days, 21 hours, 41 minutes of docked operations.

Shuttle Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim are spending their night with Atlantis still docked to the station. They will begin their journey home with undocking, scheduled for about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Aboard the station, Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev, Ron Garan, Sergei Volkov, Satoshi Furukawa and Mike Fossum will work during the coming days stowing equipment and supplies left by Atlantis. About 9,400 pounds of it came up on Raffaello, the multi-purpose logistics module.

Almost 2,300 pounds of additional cargo, including scientific equipment and experiments, was brought up on Atlantis’ middeck.

Hatches were closed separating Raffaello and the station, beginning at 12:03 a.m. Monday when the hatch on the cargo carrier was closed. It was undocked from the station’s Harmony node and returned to Atlantis’ cargo bay by Magnus and Hurley using the station’s Canadarm2. Raffaello and its return cargo of almost 5,700 pounds of unneeded equipment and trash from the station, was secured in the cargo bay shortly before 7 a.m.

At the farewell ceremony before the shuttle crew returned to Atlantis, Ferguson presented to the station a small U.S. flag that had flown on STS-1. It will remain on the station’s Harmony node until the arrival of an astronaut launched in a U.S. spacecraft returns it to Earth. Ferguson said that later it will fly again, on a spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit.

He also presented a shuttle model signed by program officials and the mission’s lead shuttle and station flight directors. “What you don’t see is the signatures of the tens of thousands who rose to orbit with us over the past 30 years, if only in spirit,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson thanked station commander Andrey Borisenko for the hospitality and his crew’s help in making the mission a success. Borisenko replied by wishing the shuttle crew a safe trip home and happy landings.

Station Flight Engineer Ron Garan said the best thing Atlantis did was bring up Magnus. “Sandy, we can’t thank you enough for all that you did.” Magnus was a previous station resident and Atlantis’ load master, responsible for the major mission activity of moving cargo between the two spacecraft.

Shortly after hatches between the two spacecraft were closed, Atlantis crew members began preparations for undocking. Ferguson and Hurley installed the centerline camera while hatch leak checks were still under way. Subsequently Hurley and Walheim checked out rendezvous tools.

The camera and the tools will provide information as shuttle crew members move Atlantis away from the station. Undocking is scheduled for 1:28 a.m. Tuesday.

The next status report will be issued after crew wakeup at 8:59 p.m. Monday or earlier if warranted.


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