Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Space shuttle makes rare night landing

Shuttle commander George Zamka brings Endeavour to a safe landing on runway 15 Sunday night at Kennedy Space Center.

Associated Press

Shuttle commander George Zamka brings Endeavour to a safe landing on runway 15 Sunday night at Kennedy Space Center.

CAPE CANAVERAL — Endeavour and its six astronauts returned safely Sunday, making a rare night landing to end a mission that resulted in the virtual completion of the International Space Station.

All day, forecasters said rain and clouds probably would scuttle any touchdown attempts. But the rain stayed away and the sky cleared for the 10:20 landing.

Mission Control waited until the last possible minute before giving commander George Zamka the go-ahead to head home. The 3-mile-long runway was awash in xenon lights.

"It's great to be home. It was a great adventure," Zamka said after the shuttle rolled to a stop.

During their mission — which spanned two weeks and 5.7 million miles — the astronauts delivered and installed the 16-ton Tranquility module and its cupola, big dome with seven windows, giving the station a room with a view. .

Upon touchdown, Mission Control relayed congratulations to Zamka and his crew for installing Tranquility and opening up those new "windows to the world."

"Welcome home," it radioed.

Tranquility already is serving as a base for life-support equipment, as well as a gym and restroom. The 10 men and one woman on the shuttle-station complex couldn't get enough of the views out the windows, once the shutters were raised last week.

The two new compartments were supplied by the European Space Agency at a cost of more than $400 million. Their addition brought the 11-year-old station to 98 percent completion.

The space station, a joint project involving 16 countries, has cost around $100 billion, mostly funded by the United States.

Endeavour's landing was the 23rd shuttle landing in darkness, out of 130 flights. The last time was in 2008, also by Endeavour.

All that's left are four shuttle flights to stock the space station with more experiments, spare parts and supplies. Discovery is scheduled to make the next trip April 5. Endeavour is scheduled to return to orbit, one last time, at the end of July.

The shuttle program ends this fall, after which the space station will be supplied by craft from Russia, Europe and Japan.

Space shuttle makes rare night landing 02/21/10 [Last modified: Sunday, February 21, 2010 11:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.