After a tough and technically intensive 16-day mission in space, the seven astronauts of the space shuttle Endeavour lands safely at Kennedy Space Center in Florida this morning.
The shuttle landed as scheduled at 10:48 a.m. ET. It was a picture-perfect landing for a shuttle that had a tough time getting off the ground due to a gaseous hydrogen leak that scuttled two scheduled launches and bad weather that derailed three other attempts.
The shuttle finally blasted off on July 15 – its sixth launch attempt.
Yesterday, mission control specialists found that one of Endeavour‘s forward thrusters, which control altitude and speed upon re-entry, failed during a test of control systems. As shown today, NASA had reported that the shuttle could land safely without the thruster.
The next shuttle launch is set for Aug. 25, when mission STS-128 is scheduled to liftoff from Kennedy.