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Mon, Feb 22, 2010

Sonic Booms Announce The Safe Return Of Space Shuttle Endeavour

Crew Delivered The Last Major US Component Of The International Space Station

Space shuttle Endeavour and six astronauts ended a 14-day journey of more than 5.7 million miles with a 10:20 p.m. EST landing Sunday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  The orbiter rolled to a stop on the three-mile-long Shuttle Landing Facility just over one hour after initiating a deorbit burn to start the glide back to Earth.

The STS-130 mission to the International Space Station included three spacewalks and the installation of the Tranquility node, a module that provides additional room for crew members and many of the space station's life support and environmental control systems. Attached to Tranquility is a cupola with seven windows that offers a panoramic view of Earth, celestial objects and visiting spacecraft.

Tranquility and its cupola are the final major U.S. portions of the station. The orbiting laboratory now is approximately 90 percent complete in terms of mass.

Attaching the cupola to Tranquility. Photo Credit: NASA

George Zamka commanded the flight and was joined on the mission by Pilot Terry Virts and Mission Specialists Kathryn Hire, Stephen Robinson, Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken. A welcome ceremony for the astronauts will be held Monday, Feb. 22, in Houston. The public is invited to attend the 4 p.m. CST event at Ellington Field's NASA Hangar 990.

With Endeavour and its crew safely home, the stage is set for launch of shuttle Discovery on its STS-131 mission, targeted to lift off April 5. Discovery's 13-day flight will deliver supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the station's laboratories.



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