The space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station for the last time this morning and started its two-day journey back to the Kennedy Space Center.
The shuttle fired its jets to separate from the ISS at 8:37am Eastern, NASA said. Discovery is scheduled to land at 11:58am on Wednesday; at this point, weather conditions are favorable.
Overall, the astronauts engaged in seven days, 23 hours, and 55 minutes worth of joint activities with the ISS crew. This is Discovery's 39th and final mission.
The crew received a special wake-up call at 3:23am this morning: the theme from "Star Trek" and a recorded message from actor William Shatner. "Space, the final frontier. These have been the voyages of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Her 30 year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before," Shatner said.
It’s finally here. I’m talking about neither killer bees nor swine flu, nor Arlen Specter’s vote on anything pro-Democratic. I’m talking about the new Star Trek movie by J. J. Abrams starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and John Cho (Harold Lee is Sulu? Inspired!)
I’m a fan of Star Trek, but I don’t get the vapors over every new ST movie or series, or any glitch in continuity, nor do I love all things Trek. Any time the Star Trek crew beams down to a planet where the background looks like Ape City from Planet of the Apes and all the inhabitants are wearing burlap tunics as they rebel against an evil alien force who’s using them for either meat, factory work, or target practice, I’m out.
I don’t refer to Star Trek as TOS (The Original Series), I don’t care how the animated series fits into continuity, and I don’t care if anyone calls me a Trekker, a Trekkie or “Romulan Praetor.” I know just enough Star Trek trivia to run a category on “Jeopardy,” (“I’ll take ‘The Jeffries Tube’ for $400, Alex.”) but not enough to debate Klingon military history with a guy dressed as a Klingon speaking Klingon.
But I do have some Star Trek cred – thanks to writer-producer Larry Brody, I’ve actually met and chatted with D.C. Fontana at a writer’s conference in L.A.; I edited the launch issues of Malibu Comics’ Star Trek: Deep Space Nine comic book and toured the set of the DS9 TV series (with artist Gordon Purcell); I had lunch with Alexander Siddig where we talked about our favorite video games; and I was once interviewed (by Mark Altman) for the official Star Trek magazine.
So I feel I have enough of a background in Star Trek to start a flame war by doing what all the other cool kids are doing: listing their five favorite Star Trek movies. Here are mine:
We’re not quite sure why we were notified about this, but we’re for anything that has to do with Star Trek and it’s first commander, Captain Kirk. William Shatner was recently honored as a favorite in a poll taken by Celestron, home of the SkyScout, the personal planetarium, as part of their Ultimate Backyard Adventure Sweepstakes promotion. He received more votes than other nominees which included Carl Sagan, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and The Simpsons.
His prize was not only receiving one of the systems (which retails for a whopping $429.00,) but also to have an actual star named after him. After being told he would now be a permanent part of the Final Frontier, Shatner replied, “I believe that you head toward the North Star and turn left, the one on the right is mine.”
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