HOUSTON – Space shuttle Endeavour is home after two weeks in space, having delivered the final U.S. module and a “room with a view” to the International Space Station. STS-130 Commander George Zamka guided Endeavour to a landing at the Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility at 9:20 p.m. CST, to wrap up a 5.7 million mile mission.
“Houston it’s great to be home. It was a great adventure,” Zamka radioed to Mission Control after wheels stop.
It was the 24th flight for Endeavour, the 32nd shuttle mission devoted to ISS assembly and maintenance, and the 130th shuttle mission to date. It was also the 23rd night landing in shuttle history and the 17th at the Florida spaceport. Endeavour now will be towed into its processing hangar to be prepared for its next mission, currently scheduled for July.
(Above) STS-130 Mission Specialists Robert Behnken, left, and Nicholas Patrick check the temperature of space shuttle Endeavour’s nosecone following its successful landing.
Zamka, Pilot Terry Virts and Mission Specialists Kathryn Hire, Stephen Robinson, Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken left behind more than 36,000 pounds of hardware that included the Tranquility Node 3 and the unique cupola providing a 360-degree view through seven windows.
Behnken and Patrick conducted three spacewalks during the mission totaling 18 hours, 14 minutes. That brings the totals for station assembly to 140 spacewalks and more than 873 hours.
The crew now plans to spend the night in crew quarters at Kennedy before returning to Houston for a welcome ceremony at about 4 p.m. Monday at Ellington Field’s Hangar 990, near the Johnson Space Center.
Next up is the flight of Discovery on the STS-131 mission, targeted for launch April 5 with a crew of seven to deliver several tons of supplies to the space station and conduct other assembly and maintenance work.