Astronauts remove storage bin from space station

July 18, 2011 - 7:14 AM
Space Shuttle

This panoramic view provided by NASA was photographed from the International Space Station, looking past the docked space shuttle Atlantis' cargo bay and part of the station including a solar array panel toward Earth, was taken on July 14, 2011 as the joint complex passed over the southern hemisphere. Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights can be seen on Earth's horizon and a number of stars are visible also. (AP Photo/NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's orbiting astronauts have detached a huge storage bin from the International Space Station. Now they're working to place it aboard Atlantis for the very last shuttle ride back to Earth.

The astronauts used a big robotic arm Monday to move the canister, which is the size of a bus. It's stuffed with nearly 3 tons of packing foam and other space station trash.

This is the last shared job by the shuttle and station crews. Later Monday morning, the hatches between the two spacecraft will be sealed.

Atlantis will undock from the space station Tuesday and aim for a touchdown Thursday. Then it will be retired. This last shuttle to fly into space will go on public display at NASA's launch site in Florida.