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Gallery: NASA releases stunning images of Endeavour's final voyage

The photographs, taken by an astronaut on his way home to Earth, are the first ever close-ups of a shuttle at the International Space Station.

Image: NASA

NASA HAS RELEASED its first ever photographs of the US space shuttle docked at the International Space Station, in the wake of the spacecraft Endeavour’s final voyage last week.

The stunning images were taken by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli as he departed the ISS in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to return to Earth. They are the first close-up images of their kind because safety protocols mean the Russian capsule and the space shuttle are never normally operating at the same time.

In the pictures, which were taken on May 23 but have only just been released, the space station is travelling at 27,000kph (or 22 times the speed of sound) roughly 355km above the Earth’s surface. The shuttle is docked at the station’s bow, between its ‘wings’ of giant solar panels.

Endeavour’s voyage, which started on May 16, was originally slated to be the last ever space shuttle mission but NASA chiefs have since decided that the shuttle Atlantis will fly one more time in July.

Slideshow of Endeavour’s final flight (Pictures: NASA):

Gallery: NASA releases stunning images of Endeavour's final voyage
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  • Space shuttle Endeavour at the ISS

  • Space shuttle Endeavour at the ISS

  • Space shuttle Endeavour at the ISS

  • Space shuttle Endeavour at the ISS

  • Space shuttle Endeavour at the ISS

  • Space shuttle Endeavour at the ISS

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Michael Freeman

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