E’ avvenuto oggi l’ultimo saluto fra i due equipaggi, con uno degli addii più commossi e più sentiti, quello di Clay Anderson che si è separato dalla casa che lo ha ospitato negli ultimi sei mesi e che ha ricevuto Tani come suo successore.
Queste le sue parole di ringraziamento ai controlli missione NASA e Russo, interrotte più volte dalla commozione:
“Today’s my last day aboard the international space station, Alpha,” e said. "Five months ago, i was lying on my back in the middeck of the orbiter Atlantis preparing to launch into orbit for the first time and wondering what the heck I’d gotten myself into. And now I’m poised to return to Earth after having served very proudly on board this magnificent complex as part of two expedition and three shuttle crews.
"And as my time draws to a close here, I’m filled with a lot of different emotions. I have a lot of blood, sweat and tears that I’ve left on board the international space station, it’s a very wonderful place. So I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you. You’ve been my special family down there on the ground for quite some time and as is true for families on Earth, I sincerely believe we’ve all created some very fond memories.
"You all kept me safe, you’ve shown me unwavering patience and professionalism… And you’ve all overlooked my shortcomings and it’s my hope that maybe you’ve even had a few laughs along the way… What I’d like to say is what we are doing here is very important for all of human kind. It’s worth the risk, it’s worth the cost and you folks on the ground are the people who make it happen. So I want you to take pride in your work and constantly look toward the heavens, for it is there you will see your future.
“For all the flight control, training and engineering teams in Houston, Huntsville and Moscow… I say thank you,” concludendo “You are indeed the best and the brightest that our world has to offer.”
E questo è stato il benvenuto ad Anderson e il saluto della comandante Melroy a Tani che lascia sulla ISS e a tutto l’equipaggio della Stazione:
"I guess this is the time when Discovery officially welcomes Clay with open arms to our crew. We can’t wait to bring you home to your family and we’re very happy to have you. It’s not even a question of fitting in, because our crews have matched so well. There’s been a lot of laughter and a lot of fun and a lot of really hard work over the last few docked days.
“And it’s also our time to say farewell to Dan… he told me not to do this (cry)… Dan has brought us so many wonderful memories and so many wonderful moments. We’re going to miss you terribly. We promise we’ll send somebody to come pick you up and bring you home. And to Peggy, thank you, it’s just been an honor and a privilege to share command of this mission with you. Our personal relationship has just made it all that much better. And Yuri, thank you so much for all the help you gave to us as well.”