Endeavour Returns to Earth a Final Time

After 299 days in space, space shuttle grounded for good
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2011 6:27 AM CDT
Updated Jun 1, 2011 7:56 AM CDT

After 25 missions, 299 days in space, 4,671 orbits around the Earth, and more than 122 million miles, the space shuttle Endeavour has landed for good. It touched down at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral at 2:34am this morning after its final 16-day mission, Space.com reports. After being welcomed home by Mission Control, Commander Mark Kelly noted that Endeavour is “really an incredible ship. … It's sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy.”

Kelly and his crew delivered a $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and other supplies to the International Space Station during STS-134, NASA’s 134th and penultimate shuttle mission since 1981. Atlantis, scheduled to launch July 8, will be the shuttle program’s final voyage. It started traversing to the launch pad last night and was expected to reach it an hour after Endeavour landed, marking a rare crossing of two shuttles. Endeavour’s next stop will be the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Click for more on Endeavour's last mission. (More Endeavour stories.)

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