Endeavour Crew Returns To Earth
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 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.
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.
Highlights from the ceremony will be broadcast on NASA Television’s Video File. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
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.
For more about the STS-130 mission and the upcoming STS-131 flight, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
Two STS-131 crew members, NASA astronaut Clay Anderson and Naoko Yamazaki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, are tweeting about preparing for their mission. For their Twitter feeds and other NASA social media Web sites, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/connect
For information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station