Fri, Jul 31, 2009
Back At Kennedy Space Center After 16 Day ISS Mission
Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of seven astronauts ended
a 16-day journey of more than 6.5 million miles with a 1048 EDT
landing Friday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During
the flight, Endeavour delivered the final piece of the Japan
Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and a new crew
member to the International Space Station.
Endeavour's mission included five spacewalks and installation of
two platforms outside the Japanese module. One platform remained on
the station and serves as a type of porch for experiments that
require direct exposure to space. The other was an experiment
storage pallet that returned aboard the shuttle. During the
mission, Kibo's robotic arm transferred three experiments from the
palette to the platform. The station now is 83 percent complete and
has a mass of more than 685,000 pounds.
Mark Polansky commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Doug
Hurley and Mission Specialists Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn,
Dave Wolf, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette and Tim
Kopra. Kopra remained aboard the station, replacing Flight Engineer
and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who returned to Earth on
Endeavour after more than four months on the station.
When Endeavour's seven astronauts joined the six resident
Expedition 20 crew members aboard the space station, a record
number of 13 people were aboard the orbiting laboratory. All five
partner agencies were represented.
A welcome ceremony for the crew's return to Houston will be held
at Ellington Field's NASA Hangar 990 at 1700. EDT on Saturday, Aug.
With Endeavor and its crew safely home, the stage is set for the
launch of STS-128, which is targeted for Aug. 25. Discovery's
13-day flight will deliver a new crew member and 33,000 pounds of
equipment to the station. The equipment includes science and
storage racks, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping
compartment and the COLBERT treadmill.
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