Prior to releasing the docking module on its separate journey, the crew had participated in a second press conference from space. During that 32-minute session, the crewmen were asked to philosophize about the future of manned space flight in general and upon such diverse topics as trips to Mars and their own participation in the Shuttle program. Their answers were filled with optimism and good humor. Deke Slayton's statement that he had done nothing in space that his 91-year old aunt could not have done sent reporters scrambling to find out her name (Mrs. Sadie Link) so they could meet their deadlines. Following the press period, CapCom Crippen told the crew, "you guys did a great job there. Professional as always." He also gave them the news that Leonov had been promoted from colonel to major general.
With congratulations over, Stafford told the ground, "Now, back to work." After donning their space suits, the crew vented the command module tunnel and at 2:41 jettisoned the docking module. Filled with all their trash and used equipment that need not be returned, the DM tumbled into space at exactly the proper rate. Stafford and his team then executed their separation maneuver so that they could take the necessary doppler measurements. The docking module would continue on its way until it re-entered the earth's atmosphere and burned up in August 1975.49
49. Program Operations Office, "ASTP Technical Air-to-Ground Voice Transcription," pp. 925-940 and 989-990; and "Astronauts Look Forward to the Space Shuttle Era," Washington Star, 23 July 1975.