NASA’s Mission Management Team met today and formally approved plans for departing ISS crew members to photograph the shuttle Endeavour docked to the station, something that has never before been attempted.
A Soyuz spacecraft is due to depart on Monday 23rd May at 17:35 EDT (22:35 BST) with Expedition 27 Commander Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli onboard, bringing to an end their half year mission.
It will move about 600 feet away stopping (about 6 minutes later) while the ISS performs a manoeuver to present a side-angle view toward the capsule for photography. The optimum photo period occurs about 30 minutes after undocking.
Commander Kondratyev will fly the Soyuz manually during this time while Nespoli will take the pictures from the habitation module’s window. Paolo Nespoli has been prolific in posting some truly amazing photographs taken from the ISS throughout his time on the station (some of which have been featured in this blog).
Soyuz will then execute a separation burn at 18:15 (23:15 BST) to move away from the station’s vicinity. The craft’s deorbit burn will be at 21:36 (02:36 BST), with landing due in Kazakhstan at 22:26 (03:26 BST).
(BST = GMT+1)