The Space Shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) and was due to return to the Kennedy Space Center on 6 December.

The ISS is now manned by the sixth Expedition Crew, as the fifth returned on Endeavour after an 180-day-plus mission. The Shuttle crew installed the first port truss segment to the ISS during three spacewalks.

Endeavour also deployed Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) picosatellites attached by a 15m (50ft) tether to demonstrate potential technologies and uses for these spacecraft.

The next Space Shuttle mission will be launched in January on the 14-day FreeStar microgravity research mission by the orbiter Columbia.

Meanwhile, NASA insists the Russian government provide financial help for Russia's space agency Rosaviakosmos in a row which threatens to force an evacuation of the ISS due to lack of support for the Russian-supplied Soyuz TM Expedition Crew emergency return craft and Progress cargo ferries (Flight International, 3-9 Decem-ber). If the evacuation were to go ahead, NASA would continue to fly Space Shuttle assembly missions during which it would carry out work on board ISS.

Source: Flight International