MIAMI – Seven astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour made a safe, though late, return to the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.
Although clouds around the space center kept Dominic Gorie and his crew in space for about 2 1/2 hours longer than planned, the shuttle touched down at 8:39 p.m. EDT.
Even as the astronauts made their way home, NASA workers were busy readying the shuttle Discovery for a May 25 launch and another International Space Station construction job.
Endeavour’s 16-day construction mission to the space station included five space walks and one of the more complex installations astronauts have handled. It was the longest mission to the station.
“It has been highly successful,” said NASA spokesperson Candrea Thomas. “We are very pleased.”
During the mission, astronauts installed a major piece of robotic equipment on the outside of the International Space Station. The Canadian-built robot will do some types of chores that have been done by humans in the past. Astronauts also delivered the first segment of a Japanese laboratory, a closet-size room for scientists to use for future experiments.
People can watch the shuttle landing on the Web by going to www.nasa.gov/ntv.