US space shuttle Endeavour landed in the Florida marshlands early on Thursday after a 16-day round trip to the International Space Station.
CAPE CANAVERAL - The
Clouds at the
With commander Dominic Gorie in control, Endeavour crossed
Gorie looped over the ocean and then nosed the 100-ton ship onto a concrete runway between canals in the Florida marshland.
"Welcome home Endeavour," said astronaut Jim Dutton from Mission Control in
"Thanks Jim," replied Gorie. "It was a super rewarding mission, exciting from the start to the ending."
Endeavour dropped off at the space station a storage room for
In the crew cabin upon its return was space station flight engineer Leopold Eyharts, a French astronaut who spent seven weeks aloft to set up a European lab, called
NASA hopes to complete three more missions to the space station this year and a servicing call to the Hubble Space Telescope as it whittles down an 11-flight manifest that must be finished by the time the shuttles are retired in 2010.
The Endeavour astronauts stayed at the station for 12 days, longer than any previous crew, and conducted five spacewalks to install Kibo's storage room, assemble the massive Dextre maintenance robot and prepare the complex for the next wave of construction.
NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman replaced Eyharts during the mission and will stay aboard until shuttle Discovery reaches the station in late May with the main part of Kibo.
Endeavour's departure cleared the way for the space station's next visitor.
Date created : 2008-03-27