Payette headed back to Earth

Julie Payette will help conduct an inspection of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on Wednesday before she and its crew head back to Earth, completing her second-ever visit to the International Space Station.

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette

LONGUEUIL, Que. — Julie Payette will help conduct an inspection of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on Wednesday before she and its crew head back to Earth, completing her second-ever visit to the International Space Station.

“She’ll be responsible for part of the inspection,” said Mathieu Caron, a flight controller at the Canadian Space Agency. “She’ll be driving the Canadarm 2 and the inspection boom for a portion of the inspection.”

During re-entry on Friday, Payette will help the pilot and commander of Endeavour as it heads to a landing in Florida.

The mother of two bid farewell to fellow Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk on Tuesday before the shuttle uncoupled from the space station, winding down the first collaboration between two Canadians in space at the same time.

Payette was the first Canadian to visit the space station back in 1999, when it was a more bare-bones operation than it is now.

During this most recent mission, the 13-person crew made improvements to the giant orbiting lab, conducted experiments and did maintenance.

“Endeavour on the big loop — tally ho,” an Endeavour crew member radioed to NASA mission control as the space shuttle passed over Houston, Tex., after undocking from the station.

The departure was broadcast on NASA TV and was also beamed live to the Canadian Space Agency in Longueuil, near Montreal.

Payette arrived on the space station about two weeks ago but Thirsk has already spent seven weeks circling the Earth and performing a number of experiments, including studying the effects of weightlessness.

He will spend a total of six months on the station and is slated to return in November. Before that, he will help Quebec billionaire Guy Laliberte when the Cirque du soleil founder becomes the latest space tourist.

The withdrawal of the shuttle from the space station on Tuesday looked like a ghostly ballet as the hulking spacecraft pulled away, framed against the wispy white clouds and deep blue seas of the Earth below.

“We’d like to bid you farewell and fair sailing,” a transmission from an Endeavour crewman to the space station said, giving thanks to the station crew for their help and hospitality.

A space station crewman wished the Endeavour “Godspeed” in its return to Earth, adding the station “seems awfully big without you.”

The Endeavour is due to land in Florida on Friday.

The shuttle almost looked like a shark skimming the surface of cloudy water as it passed under the space station in a circuit that gradually moved it away from the lab, travelling at what looked like incremental distances to the naked eye.

Images of the departure were transmitted to Earth from the shuttle and the space station.

Very little was said between the ground controllers and the astronauts, with information on the progress of the flight being made in short bursts of calm, almost monotone conversation.

Locations were noted, with controllers announcing when the spacecraft passed over several U.S. states, Mexico, the Equator, Ireland and parts of Canada including Quebec.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today, some complain of long lines

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia are heading to the polls today… Continue reading

Kennedy Stewart named mayor of Vancouver; one of several B.C. turnovers

VANCOUVER — Former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has won a neck-and-neck… Continue reading

‘In our bloodline:’ Land-based learning links curriculum with Indigenous culture

REGINA — A school day for six-year-old Hunter Sasakamoose can start with… Continue reading

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Most Read