After five launch attempts, NASA’s Endeavor finally blasted off into space (literally J) and is now coming home.
The first attempt to touch down at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is scheduled today at 1547 BST (1047 EDT) with the weather forecasted to be favorable for landing in Florida.
The Endeavor crew of seven astronauts took off on July 15 and spent more than 11 days of flying in low-Earth orbit attached to a port on the International Space Station. The mission was scheduled to last 16 days, including the time it took for the shuttle to travel to and from the space station.
The construction mission was carried out successfully having delivered and installed fresh batteries and installing a “porch” for Kibo – Japan’s first human space facility which enhances the unique research capabilities – for science experiments which has been under construction for more than a decade.
Endeavor will come home without US astronaut Tim Kopra, who will become the new station resident, taking the place of Japanese astronaut Kochi Wakata who spent 138 days in space.
Another launch will be made after this. Discovery is scheduled to blast off on August 18 at 0925 BST (0425 EDT).