Endeavour descended to a flawless landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this afternoon, ending four days of landing attempts thwarted by bad weather and returning home an International Space Station crew that spent 185 days in space.
Commander Jim Wetherbee guided Endeavour to a touchdown on KSC's shuttle runway at 1:37 p.m. Central, completing a 5.74-million-mile journey that added a new segment to the space station's growing backbone and exchanged resident space station crews. Endeavour's landing completed the final shuttle mission of the year and brought home the station's Expedition Five crew -- Commander Valery Korzun, Science Officer Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev. The Expedition Six crew -- Commander Ken Bowersox, NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit and Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin -- remain on the International Space Station, beginning a three-month stay. Ending a 14-day flight aboard Endeavour today were Wetherbee, Shuttle Pilot Paul Lockhart and Mission Specialists Mike Lopez-Alegria and John Herrington.
Official landing times for Endeavour include main gear touchdown at 1:37:12 p.m. Central which equates to 13 days, 18 hours, 47 minutes and 25 seconds Mission Elapsed Time. Nose gear touch down occurred at 1:37:23 p.m. Central or 13 days, 18 hours, 47 minutes and 36 seconds Mission Elapsed Time. Wheels stop for Endeavour occurred at 1:38:25 p.m. Central or 13 days, 18 hours, 48 minutes and 38 seconds Mission Elapsed Time.
The Expedition Five crew and Endeavour's crew will return to Houston's Ellington Field on Monday, December 9. A welcome home ceremony is planned beginning at 3 p.m. Central at Hangar 990.
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