Shuttle departs space station for Friday landing
The space shuttle Atlantis undocked Wednesday morning from the International Space Station as it ended its week-long stay.
The shuttle's seven astronauts will now prepare for a sheduled landing Friday in Florida.
During their stay at the space station, the shuttle astronauts unloaded thousands of kilograms of spare parts and other cargo. They also performed maintenance work that is expected to keep the ISS operating for another five to 10 years.
Astronaut Randolph Bresnik is eager to get home. His daughter, Abigail Mae Bresnik, was born Saturday, shortly after he performed his first space walk.
Nicole Stott is also keen to get back to Earth. She has been aboard the ISS since late August, and wants to see her husband and seven-year-old son.
On Wednesday, Stott said goodbye to the remaining five astronauts on the ISS, which includes Canadian Robert Thirsk. Thirsk is scheduled to return to Earth on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft next Tuesday.
"It was a real pleasure working with you guys," she said by radio. "I was blessed with a wonderful crew, and I look forward to seeing you guys on the ground real soon."