Space shuttle Endeavour ends final mission; returns to Earth | world | Hindustan Times
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Space shuttle Endeavour ends final mission; returns to Earth

world Updated: Jun 01, 2011 21:21 IST

PTI
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Endeavour and its crew safely returned to the Earth on Wednesday after 16 days, successfully completing its last mission and the penultimate flight in NASA's 30-year-old space shuttle programme.

The space shuttle, carrying six astronauts, safely landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida. It flew 25 missions and more than 122 million miles in its 19-year long career.

Atlantis will take off for one final time in five weeks on NASA's 135th and the last space shuttle mission.

Endeavour, the youngest of the US space shuttles, made a perfect pre-dawn landing and the mission control told its commander Mark Kelly, "Your landing end a vibrant legacy for this amazing vehicle that will long be remembered."

Endeavour will now make its way to a museum in California as NASA is going to retire its entire space shuttle fleet before the end of this year.

Last manned shuttle-mission, Atlantis, is set for 8th of July.

Afterwards, the US will rely on Russia's space capsules for transit to the International Space Station.

NASA's shuttle replacement is expected to emerge sometime between 2015 and 2021.

Endeavour's commander Mark Kelly is married to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from an assassination attempt earlier this year.