SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR LANDS AT EDWARDS TO CONCLUDE MISSION STS-111
June 19, 2002
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After adverse weather forced waveoffs of landing attempts for two consecutive days at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Commander Ken Cockrell guided the Space Shuttle Endeavour to a smooth landing on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert today. The landing marked the completion of a successful STS-111 construction, resupply and crew exchange mission to the International Space Station.
After logging 5.8 million miles during 217 orbits, Endeavour's main landing gear touched down just before 10:58 a.m. Pacific time on Runway 22 at Edwards. The crew members exited Endeavour to the Crew Transfer Vehicle about an hour after landing and the four STS-111 crew members-Cockrell, pilot Paul Lockhart, and mission specialists Philippe Perrin and Franklin Chang-Diaz-performed the traditional walk-around inspection. The astronauts are scheduled to return to the Johnson Space Center at Houston, Texas, on Thursday and be reunited with their families at the crew return ceremony on Friday.
Space station Expedition Four crewmen Col. Yury Onufrienko, Capt. Dan Bursch, USN, and Col. Carl Walz, USAF, walked off the shuttle to the Crew Transfer Vehicle, and will be subject to a battery of medical tests over the next day or two after their more than six-month stay in orbit. They are scheduled to return to the Johnson Space Center on Friday. Bursch and Walz surpassed the previous American spaceflight duration record held by Shannon Lucid since 1996, with a record-setting 196 days in space. Walz also holds the American record for the most cumulative days in space with 231 days.
"It is not the place we intended to land, but we brought back a good vehicle," said Cockrell in brief runway comments after exiting Endeavour. "The Expedition (Four) crew is looking great. We really appreciate the efforts from Dryden and Edwards Air Force Base to bring us in safely and take care of us once we got here."
Late this afternoon, Endeavour will be towed to the Mate-Demate Device at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards in preparation to be mated to a modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for a ferry flight to Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Once back at KSC, Endeavour will begin deservicing and processing for its next flight, the STS-113 mission to space station Alpha in October.
Endeavour was launched June 5 from KSC. It's main landing gear touched down on Edwards' main runway at 10:57.41 a.m. and it rolled to a stop 64 seconds later, for a total mission elapsed time of 13 days, 20 hours, 35 minutes, 56 seconds.
Today's landing was the 49th to conclude at Edwards AFB, while another 59 shuttle missions have landed at the KSC in Florida, and one at White Sands in New Mexico.
Endeavour's primary mission on STS-111 was to deliver and install the Mobile Base System for the station's Canadarm-2 robotic arm and transport the Expedition Five crew to the space station, and return the Expedition Four crew to Earth. In addition, astronauts replaced a faulty wrist-roll joint on the station's robotic arm, and delivered some 5,600 pounds of equipment and supplies to the space station.
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