NASA on Tuesday released the first ever pictures of a US space shuttle docked at the International Space Station, taken by astronauts aboard a departing Russian spacecraft last month.
The shots of the shuttle Endeavour were taken by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli as he and two colleagues left the orbiting lab on May 23 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft bound for Earth.
"It is the first ever image of a space shuttle docked to the International Space Station," NASA said.
"Once their vehicle was about 600 feet (183 meters) from the station, Mission Control Moscow, outside the Russian capital, commanded the orbiting laboratory to rotate 130 degrees," it added.
"This move allowed Nespoli to capture digital photographs and high definition video of shuttle Endeavour docked to the station."
Pictures and video were posted online at www.nasa.gov .
Nespoli, expedition 27 commander Dmitry Kondratyev and NASA astronaut Cady Coleman were wrapping up a six-month stay at the orbiting lab and landed later that day in Kazakhstan.
Endeavour was docked at the ISS for 11 days as part of its final mission to space, and was the next-to-last shuttle flight for the 30-year American program which ends after the final flight of Atlantis, scheduled to launch July 8.
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