The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour has detached from the international space station, leaving behind a new crew and additional hardware for the expanding outpost. Shuttle and station crews said goodbye after a week in space together and closed the hatches between them. Endeavour backed away slowly over Australia with many of its steering jets turned off to avoid contaminating the station.
A new three-person U.S. and Russian crew remains behind for a four-month stay, while the crew that has inhabited the outpost since June heads home.
During the mission, the shuttle team mounted a 15-meter-aluminum girder, the third of 11 that will eventually span 100-meters to hold air conditioning, power, and data relay equipment for future research laboratories.
Endeavour is scheduled to land Wednesday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.