Mar 27, 2008

Endeavour returns home

US Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of seven returned to Earth on Wednesday, ending a two-week long mission to International Space Station. The shuttle landed on NASA's illuminated runway at 8:39 p.m. It was a rare nighttime touchdown. It was only the 22nd space shuttle landing in darkness. Less than one-fifth of all missions have ended at nighttime; the last one was in 2006.

Endeavour was supposed to land before sunset, but at virtually the last minute, clouds moved in and it's homecoming is delayed. As the astronauts took an extra swing around the planet, the sky cleared enough to satisfy flight controllers gave green signal to return home.

Endeavour blasted off March 11, on an important mission to construct the space station. During their 16 day mission astronauts installed the first piece of Japan's Kibo lab, put together a giant Canadian robot named Dextre and tested a shuttle repair technique. The International Space Station is now 70 percent complete, with a mass of nearly 600,000 pounds. NASA hopes to complete the construction process in 2010. Link


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