The combined space shuttle Endeavour and International Space Station crews wrap up their docked activities and prepare to close the hatches between the two vehicles today.
The STS-134 and Expedition 28 crews woke at 6:56 p.m. CDT Saturday to "Galaxy Song" performed by Clint Black. The song was dedicated to the whole crew by the flight control team.
"That was a really cool song," radioed pilot Greg Johnson from the flight deck on Endeavour. "You know it kind of gives you a sense of how huge our universe is and how much we have ahead of us in exploring it."
"It has been an honor serving you all in this wonderful ship. This ship itself has traveled over a hundred million miles and we've put on a good five million already," continued Johnson. "So, we're looking forward to a final day docked to the space station and we've got a lot to do, so we're going to get at it."
Before the astronauts separate into their respective spacecraft, mission specialist Mike Fincke will wrap up work servicing the station's carbon dioxide removal assembly while his fellow STS-134 spacewalkers Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff organize and stow spacewalking tools.
After taking a break for lunch, all nine shuttle and station crew members will gather for a group photo and finish the last bit of transfer of cargo to and from the station.
They will then all gather again at 5:56 a.m. to exchange their farewells. The hatches between Endeavour and the station will be closed afterward in preparation for the shuttle undocking at 10:55 p.m. Sunday.
The STS-133 and Expedition 28 crew members bid farewell to each other Sunday after more than a week working together aboard the International Space Station. The crews separated into their respective spacecraft and closed the hatches between them to prepare for space shuttle Endeavour undocking on Sunday evening.
The nine space shuttle and space station crew members spent a total of 10 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes working together.
"We had a very successful mission working with Expedition 28," Mark Kelly, commander of STS-134, said. "It has been a great number of days docked."
"We got the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer installed, which is a really a remarkable thing for physics and for science," Kelly said. "That sensor is already collecting massive amounts of data and we're looking forward to hearing what those discoveries are."
"We got ELC-3 [ExPRESS Logistics Carrier-3] installed, did four very successful spacewalks and a bunch of transfer. It was a really good 10 days or so that we were docked here," he continued. "We are looking to getting home and we're going to leave these guys to some peace and quiet and not disturb their space station any more."
"On this Memorial Day weekend, I would also like to say that, as a crew, we're thinking of the veterans out there who have lost their lives in wars, especially recently in Afghanistan and in Iraq. It is really important for the American people to honor those folks over this weekend and particularly tomorrow, on Monday," Kelly concluded.
"It was really great seeing you guys," responded Ron Garan, Expedition 28 flight engineer. "It was great getting to spend time on this incredible orbital complex. We were just in awe of the finely-oiled machine that was and is STS-134."
"And you said it — great EVAs, great robotics, great transfer, AMS being installed," Garan remarked. "Special thanks to Taz [Greg Chamitoff] and Spanky [Mike Fincke] for all your work on the oxygen generation system and carbon dioxide removal assembly. It's been really great and we're all looking forward to seeing the mysteries solved from the AMS."
"So, on behalf of Expedition 27 and Expedition 28, the entire ISS team, we'd like to thank you and the entire STS-134 mission team for leaving the space station ready for its continued utilization for at least the next decade."
"You've really left us in great shape," Garan told the shuttle crew. "It was really a big success and [we're] proud to have a really small part of it."
"[It was good] to see the shuttle crew visiting here at a time when we were working," added station commander Andrei Borisenko. "I'm happy that the crew has completed their tasks. And I am glad that they enjoyed staying and working with us as well."
"Thank you very much and soft landing," said Borisenko.