Overview

    Mission STS-126
    Orbiter: Endeavour
    Mission: STS-126
    Primary Payload: Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
    Launched: Nov. 14
    Launch Time: 7:55 p.m. EST
    Launch Pad: 39A
    Mission Duration: 15 days
    Landing Date: Nov. 30, 2008
    Landing Time: 4:25 p.m. EST
    Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
    Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

    STS-126: NASA's Extreme Home Improvement
    Endeavour launches on the STS-126 mission

    Image above: Light-filled clouds of smoke and steam roll across Launch Pad 39A as Endeavour hurtles into the night sky. Photo credit: NASA/Rick Wetherington-Tim Powers
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    Endeavour lands at Edwards Air Force Base

    Image above: Endeavour kicks up dust as it touches down at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Photo credit: NASA/ Tony Landis, EAFB
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    Endeavour returns to Kennedy on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

    Image above: Endeavour mounted atop a modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft flies over California's Mojave Desert on its way back to Kennedy. Photo credit: NASA/Carla Thomas
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    Endeavour lands at Kennedy

    Image above: With Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building in the background, the carrier aircraft with Endeavour piggybacked on top gracefully touches down. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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    The International Space Station can now accommodate more inhabitants thanks to the gargantuan efforts of the STS-126 mission crew. In a beautiful nighttime burst of smoke and clouds, space shuttle Endeavour lifted off Nov. 14, 2008 at 7:25 p.m. EST from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe, Mission Specialists Steve Bowen, Donald Pettit, Shane Kimbrough, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Sandra Magnus delivered the most supplies and equipment ever carried to the station by a single mission.

    Four spacewalks totaling 26 hours and 41 minutes were performed with much of the spacewalkers' time devoted to repairing the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint on the right side of the station’s main truss.

    There also was a bustle of activity aboard the orbiting outpost as the shuttle and station crews installed new home improvements, including two bedrooms, a water recycling facility and an exercise device.

    After nearly 15 days, the Endeavour crew headed home with a new crew member. Greg Chamitoff, who had lived in space for six months, was replaced by Sandra Magnus. Magnus will remain flight engineer aboard the station until her return on shuttle Discovery with the STS-119 crew.

    A scheduled Nov. 30 landing at Kennedy was thwarted because of stormy weather over the center. Endeavour was diverted to Edwards Air Force Base on the West Coast and made a picture-perfect landing in the California desert at 4:25 p.m. EST.

    Landing at Edwards meant the shuttle would have to take a piggyback ride on NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for its return to Kennedy.

    With a few stops along the way to wait out some inclement weather in Florida, Endeavour glided in for a touchdown at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility under a brilliant blue sky Dec. 12, at 2:44 p.m. EST -- officially ending an exceptionally successful mission.

Shuttle Features

Busy Mission Runs Astronauts Through Multiple Roles

An astronaut works on the International Space Station.

The astronauts of STS-126 acted as craftsmen, mechanics, spacewalkers and, of course, astronauts during International Space Station mission.

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No Seats Available For This Flight

Endeavour begins the ferry flight back to Kennedy

When a shuttle lands anywhere but Kennedy Space Center, it gets a piggyback ride back to its home base.

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Where to Land the Shuttle

Columbia lands at White Sands

NASA's space shuttles have a few landing sites to choose from.

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Recycling Water is not Just for Earth Anymore

Bob Bagdigian and the Water Recovery System

A complex system of distillers and filters is at the heart of a water recycling system that will eventually supply International Space Station crews with drinking water.

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Station Prepares for Expanding Crew

MPLM Leonardo carries the STS-126 payload for the space station.

Just in time for its 10th anniversary, the space station will get an out-of-this-world home makeover.

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Crew Expansion Prep, SARJ Repair Focus of STS-126

STS-126 mission patch

For years, STS-126 has been planned as the mission that will give the International Space Station the ability to support twice the crew currently living there.

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Endeavour Rolls Around

Endeavour is moved to Pad A

The STS-126 mission moved into high gear as Endeavour transferred to Pad A.

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STS-126 Mission Stats

    Mission Elapsed Time:
    15 days, 20 hours, 29 minutes, 37 secs

    Official Landing Times
    Main gear touchdown:
    4:25:06 p.m. EST
    Nose gear touchdown:
    4:25:21 p.m. EST
    Wheels stop:
    4:26:03p.m. EST
    Total miles:
    6.6 million

Launch and Landing Coverage

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