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Shuttle Lands After Record Space Station Mission


The Endeavour has landed, after completing the longest space shuttle mission to the International Space Station. VOA's Brian Wagner has this report.

The seven-member crew of Endeavour returned to Earth more than two weeks after lifting off to complete a series of construction tasks at the space station.

Endeavour's Commander Dominic Gorie piloted the shuttle to the runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a rare night-time landing. After touching down, he thanked NASA engineers and officials for their support during the mission.

"It was a super rewarding mission, exciting from the start to the ending," he said. "Thank you for all the help."

NASA officials said the shuttle crew set a record by spending nearly 12 days docked to the space station. Astronauts performed five space walks, including maneuvers to install a Canadian-built robotic arm system and the first component of a Japanese science laboratory. They also tested a new technique for repairing the shuttle's heat shield, should it be damaged during launch.

NASA officials say construction on the space station is now 70 percent complete and that it will be finished by 2010. The next shuttle flight is scheduled for May, when Discovery will deliver another component for the Japanese Kibo space module.

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