Very early this morning, space shuttle Atlantis separated from the International Space Station for the last time. Atlantis is scheduled to make its final landing at Kennedy Space Center on Thursday at 5:56 AM ET, marking an end to the 30-year space shuttle program.
Space shuttle Atlantis is seen from the International Space Station shortly after undocking.
Space shuttle Atlantis is seen from the International Space Station shortly after undocking. NASA TV
As Atlantis departed, commander Chris Ferguson took a minute to look at the station the shuttle helped build.
"When a generation accomplishes a great thing," he radioed back to the station, "it's got a right to stand back and for just a moment admire and take pride in its work.
"From our unique vantage point right here perched above the Earth, we can see the International Space Station as a wonderful accomplishment. It was born at the end of the Cold War, it's enabled many nations to speak (as) one in space."
CERES TV strung together NASA TV's coverage of the final minutes the shuttle's undocking: