Astronauts bid each other teary goodbyes yesterday as the shuttle Discovery prepared to leave the international space station and return to Earth. Seven people will make the two-day journey home, including astronaut Clay Anderson, who completed a 152-day mission aboard the station. Crew member Dan Tani is taking his place among the three left behind, and will remain until December.
"I have a lot of blood, sweat and tears aboard the space station," said Anderson. "What we are doing here is very important. It's worth the risk." The crew spent an intense 11 days carrying out station renovations. Once clear of the space station, the Discovery astronauts will use cameras to check the shuttle's wings for any damage that may have been caused by space debris while docked.