Discovery Pulls Away from the Station

International Space Station. Image credit: NASAAfter 8 days docked together, and 4 spacewalks, the astronauts on board the International Space Station and the space shuttle Discovery big farewell to one another and closed the hatch. Discovery then detached from the station and drifted slowly away. Astronauts on board captured a series of photographs of the station as they pulled away.

Discovery is returning to Earth with a new member of the crew, though. ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, who arrived at the station on a Soyuz flight, and had been on board for several weeks, is coming back with Discovery. NASA astronaut Sunita Williams will remain on board.

Thanks to the unscheduled spacewalk to repair a troublesome solar array, Discovery will remain in space a day longer than originally planned. It’s scheduled to land at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Friday.