Space Shuttle Endeavour completes STS-123 mission

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Endeavour rolls out after landing

The Space Shuttle Endeavour landed on runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida at 00:39 GMT this morning. Endeavour's landing marks the completion of the STS-123 mission, which saw two new components installed aboard the International Space Station during a 15 day, 18 hour, 10 minute and 54 second mission. Endeavour had travelled 6,758,000 miles, and orbited the Earth 250 times.

During the mission the JEM ELM-PS module was installed, and the Dextre robotic arm component was assembled during a series of spacewalks. Dextre was delivered to the Station aboard a Spacelab pallet. This British-built component, which was first flown aboard the Space Shuttle in the early-mid 1980s as part of the European Spacelab programme, was making its final flight. It was returned to Earth by Endeavour.

Landing aboard Endeavour were astronauts Dominic Gorie, Gregory H. Johnson, Robert L. Behnken, Michael Foreman, Richard M. Linnehan, Takao Doi and Expedition 16 crewmember Léopold Eyharts. The landing was waved off on the first attempt due to overcast skies at the landing site. This resulted in a 90 minute delay to landing.

Main gear touchdown occurred at 00:39:08 GMT, followed nine seconds later by nose gear touchdown. Wheels-stop occurred at 00:40:41.

This mission was the 21st for Endeavour, the 122nd Space Shuttle mission, and the 25th and longest Shuttle mission to the ISS. The next Shuttle mission is STS-124, which will be flown by Discovery. This is currently scheduled to launch in late May. Before this, Soyuz TMA-12 will be launched, in early April, with the Space Station's Expedition 17 crew, and Yi So-yeon, who will become the first South Korean in space. Endeavour's next mission, STS-126, is planned for October.