Space Shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station at 7:56 a.m. EDT today, ending an almost nine-day stay at the orbital outpost for the STS-118 crew.
Undocking was moved up a day in preparation for landing on Tuesday. The earlier landing opportunity was selected in the event Hurricane Dean threatens the Houston area. It allows an opportunity for the shuttle to land before Mission Control, Houston, would be shut down in preparation for a storm. Mission managers are continuing to monitor the situation and assess their options.
After backing 400 feet away from the station, the STS-118 crew fired Endeavour's engines to begin the departure from the vicinity of the station.
Later, the crew will conduct the post-docking heat shield inspection to make sure Endeavour is ready for landing. STS-118's first landing opportunity on Tuesday is at 12:32 p.m.
The seven astronauts will enjoy some well-deserved off duty time after the busy stay at the station. While at the station, the crew installed the Starboard 5 (S5) truss segment and transferred tons of cargo between the shuttle and the station. The STS-118 crew conducted four spacewalks at the station. The two major objectives were the installation of the S5 and the replacement of a failed attitude control gyroscope.