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Shuttle Atlantis undocks from ISS for last time

RIA Novosti

10:45 19/07/2011 MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station for the last time on Tuesday, NASA said.

The undocking of the spacecraft from the station's module Harmony took place at 10:28 a.m. Moscow time (6:28 GMT) and the shuttle is expected to land in Florida at 1:28 p.m. Moscow time (9:28 GMT) on July 21.

Once the U.S. shuttle fleet is retired after the end of the current Atlantis mission to the orbital station, Russia's Soyuz and Progress spacecraft will take the bulk of crew rotation and cargo missions to the ISS until at least the middle of the decade.

Russia has signed a number of contracts with NASA on the delivery of U.S. astronauts to the ISS until 2016, which take into consideration annual inflation rates and rising cost of materials in Russia.

NASA is paying Roscosmos more than $1 billion for crew transport services over the next four years.

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