Shuttle Endeavour lands at California air base

(CNN) – Space Shuttle Endeavor landed safely Sunday afternoon at California’s Edwards Air Force Base after NASA ruled out two landing opportunities in Florida because of bad weather.

NASA chose to land the space shuttle in California on Sunday, because of bad weather at the Kennedy Space Center.

Endeavor will land Sunday at California’s Edwards Air Force Base.

The space shuttle, piloted by Commander Christopher Ferguson, landed at 1:25 p.m., ending a mission that had lasted more than two weeks.

Wind, rain, and reports of thunderstorms within 30 miles of the space shuttle’s landing facility at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center prompted NASA to abort landing attempts there. They were scheduled for 1:19 p.m. and 2:54 p.m. ET.

After determining Monday’s weather forecast at Kennedy Space Center was also of no concern, flight controllers decided they would attempt to land the space shuttle and its seven astronauts at Edwards AFB, about 100 miles from Los Angeles, California, where Sunday is forecast to be sunny.

Flight controllers prefer to land at Kennedy Space Center because of cost and schedule. NASA estimates it will cost about $1.7 million to bring a shuttle home from the Kennedy Space Center from California. Video Watch Endeavor’s Sunday Landing in California »

It also took at least a week to prepare for the trip, but schedule wasn’t a major factor for Endeavor; it won’t be scheduled to fly again until May.

Endeavor’s 15-day mission to the international space station begins on November 14 and includes four spacewalks.

During that time, the crew brought along key pieces – including exercise equipment, more sleeping places and a urine recycling system – for the project to double the station’s capacity from three crewmembers. Indoor family to six astronauts.

A recycling system was installed to convert the astronauts’ urine and sweat into drinking water.

Other modules are expected to arrive on a shuttle flight in February. The goal of expanding the station’s capacity to six astronauts is expected to be achieved by the summer.

The crew also worked on a collaboration that helped generate power for the space station. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen spent hours cleaning and lubricating the Solar Alpha Rotating Joint, which is designed to allow the solar panels on the left side of the station to rotate and track the sun.

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The astronauts also removed and replaced some wheel bearing assemblies.

The mission went according to plan, although there was a bit of a hiatus during the first spacewalk when a grease gun in the Stefanyshyn-Piper instrument’s pocket leaked, coating everything inside. a lubricant film. While she was trying to clean it up, the bag – with $100,000 in tools – drifted away.

CNN’s Kate Tobin and Miles O’Brien contributed to this report.

All about Space Shuttle Effort • NASA • Kennedy Space Center

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/TECH/space/11/30/space.shuttle/index.html?eref=edition_space Shuttle Endeavour lands at California air base

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