NPR logo Embraced In Space: A Rare Glimpse Of The Shuttle And Space Station

The End Of The Space Shuttle Era

Embraced In Space: A Rare Glimpse Of The Shuttle And Space Station

Paolo Nespoli/NASA
The International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, flying at an altitude of approximately 220 miles, on May 23, 2011.
Paolo Nespoli/NASA

Look closely, and you can see a rear view of Endeavour's wings and engines as the space shuttle sits on top of the International Space Station. This image was taken May 23 by an astronaut on board the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as it headed back to Earth. It's a never-before-seen perspective — the first-ever photos of the station-shuttle complex captured by a departing craft.

"All previous views have come from cameras on the station's exterior, or from cameras used by the crew from windows inside the station," says NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries.

Paolo Nespoli/NASA
The International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, flying at an altitude of approximately 220 miles, on May 23, 2011.
Paolo Nespoli/NASA