Endeavour Undocks from Space Station

In this image provided by NASA astronaut Nicholas Patrick, STS-130 mission specialist, is pictured in a window of the newly-installed Cupola of the International Space Station while space shuttle Endeavour remains docked with the station Thursday Feb. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/NASA) AP Photo/NASA

Space shuttle Endeavour has left the International Space Station and is headed home.

Endeavour undocked from the practically finished space station Friday night. The two spacecraft and 11 astronauts spent nearly 10 days together, working to install a new room and observation deck. The seven windows in the dome were shuttered before the shuttle's departure, to protect against thruster contamination.

Mission Control told the six shuttle astronauts they've had "an absolutely awesome mission," but now it's time to say "Hello, Earth!" Touchdown is set for late Sunday night in Florida.

Using a laser scanner and camera on the end of a 50-foot extension to the shuttle's robot arm, the astronauts planned to look for signs of any micrometeoroid impact damage that might have occurred since an identical inspection the day after launch, reports CBS News space analyst Bill Harwood.

"After undocking we have to perform another inspection like the one we did on flight day two, this time to check for damage that might have happened on orbit," astronaut Nicholas Patrick said in a NASA interview. "And then we'll spend an entire day turning our orbiter back into a winged vehicle that can re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.

The space station is now 98 percent complete. Only four shuttle flights remain. Discovery will carry up more supplies and experiments in April.
  • CBSNews

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