NASA's final Shuttle mission of 1998 came to an end this evening with the landing of Space Shuttle Endeavour at Kennedy Space Center. Following a 4.6 million mile journey, STS-88 Commander Bob Cabana guided the orbiter down onto runway 15 with landing gear touchdown occurring at 9:54 p.m. CST.
While weather forecasts in the final days of the mission had indicated that rain showers might delay the astronauts return, the weather cleared, allowing Entry Flight Director John Shannon to give a "go" for the deorbit burn which occurred at 8:46 p.m. CST.
Tonight's landing at KSC marked the 10th night landing in the history of the Shuttle program. It was also the 17th straight landing at Kennedy Space Center and the 24th in the last 25 Shuttle missions to land at the Florida spaceport.
While Endeavour is back on firm ground, 246 miles above, the new International Space Station continues to orbit with all systems functioning normally. The current orientation of the ISS has the Unity module facing the Earth and the Zarya module facing deep space. The station is also in a slow rotation at one revolution every 30 minutes to maintain the proper heating and cooling. The next shuttle assembly mission to the station is STS-96, scheduled for launch aboard Discovery in May.
Cabana and his crewmates, Pilot Rick Sturckow, Mission Specialists Nancy Currie, Jim Newman, Jerry Ross and Sergei Krikalev will remain in Florida until Thursday morning when they are scheduled to return to Houston. The STS-88 crew are scheduled to land at Ellington Field, near the Johnson Space Center at approximately 10:30 a.m. CST where they will be welcomed home with a crew return ceremony.
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