This morning at 3:53 a.m., Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station. They did a picture-perfect separation and flyaround, and about an hour and a half later their second separation burn sent them on their way. Away from the ISS and headed towards a landing in Florida on Friday morning.
After 9 days of crazy hours, my role in this mission has come to an end. Just like that, my first lead mission is over! It was most excellent. Everything went very smoothly.
After he’d performed the final separation burn, Butch held up his Rendezvous checklist in front of the camera. This book contains all of the timelines, procedures, and reference data they need for both rendezvous and undocking. On the cover, he’d written “Thanks Steve!” and “Thanks Sarah!” (Steve was their rendezvous instructor; I was their rendezvous flight controller.) That was pretty darn cool to see, and was a big surprise.
Overall, it was a fantastic mission and I left work today feeling like a million bucks. The 129 crew was a lot of fun to work with and I look forward to seeing them safely back on Earth.
I’m off for a well-deserved four day weekend. Happy Thanksgiving to all!