Shuttle Endavour back on Earth

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) -- Endeavour's "two-week adventure" to the international space station is over.

The shuttle and its multinational crew of seven landed on the Kennedy Space Center's illuminated runway at 8:39 p.m. Eastern, an hour after sunset.

It wasn't supposed to be that way. Endeavour was set to land before nightfall, but at virtually the last minute, clouds moved in. As the astronauts took an extra swing around the planet, the sky cleared enough to satisfy flight controllers. It was only the 22nd space shuttle landing in darkness.

Endeavour's commander, Dominic Gorie, called the 16-day, 6.5-million-mile voyage "a super-rewarding mission, exciting from the start to the ending."

The astronauts' accomplishments include installing the first piece of a Japanese lab, assembling a giant Canadian robot and testing a shuttle repair technique.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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