Endeavour completes its 16 day mission

By | August 1, 2009

endeavour_landsSpace shuttle Endeavour and a crew of seven astronauts touched down at 10:48 a.m. EDT at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, bringing an end to a complex mission to install the final section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory on the International Space Station. All of the STS-127 crew members are doing well after today’s landing.

The 16-day mission showcased the international partnerships involved in the space station effort. Astronauts from five space agencies were on board the orbiting complex. “It was truly an impressive demonstration of international collaboration all throughout this mission,” said Canadian Space Agency Director General of Operations Benoit Marcotte.

Endeavour’s smooth and punctual arrival, after more than two weeks in orbit, set off a steady stream of congratulations and an ecstatic welcoming reception for Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese astronaut to return from a long space journey. His space station mission lasted 4 1/2 months.

“We certainly miss being there, but there’s no place like home,” said shuttle commander Mark Polansky. He looked thrilled as he shook hands with senior managers and walked around his spaceship. “What a fantastic mission,” he said.

While visiting the space station, Polansky and his crew put on a new addition to Japan’s $1 billion lab, installed fresh batteries, and stockpiled some big spare parts. They accomplished all of their major objectives and were part of the biggest gathering ever in space: Counting the six station residents, the crowd totaled 13.

The shuttle flight lasted 16 days and spanned 6.5 million miles, one of NASA’s longest. It wrapped up a 138-day trip for Wakata, who moved into the space station last March. He swapped places with American Timothy Kopra, who rode up on Endeavour.

Source: Yahoo, Nasa

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