Friday, July 31, 2009

Endeavour Lands at Kennedy Space Center

The space shuttle Endeavour left earth orbit this morning for a free fall journey back home to a beautiful landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The orbiter's main gear hit the space center's runway hot and fast at 10:48:08 am EDT, concluding 15 days, 16 hours and 46 minutes in space, and the final mission to complete the Japanese Kibo segment aboard the international space station.

NASA's 29th space shuttle mission to help construct the massive space station flew 6.52 million miles and was docked to the orbital complex for 12

"Congratulations on a superb mission from beginning to end. Very well done," CAPCOM Alan Poindexter radioed the crew of Endeavour from back in Mission Control after the spacecraft came to a complete stop.

Coming home on the day before his 46th birthday, Japan's first long duration space traveler,
Koichi Wakata, landed in a space chair on the middeck of the orbiter.

On hand to greet the crew is new NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden, who began his first day at work in Washington, D.C. days after Endeavour launched on her 23rd flight.

The next space shuttle launch is targeted for no earlier than August 23rd, by Discovery. Discovery is set to head to her ocean side launch pad on Monday morning.

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