The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth Friday, following a two-week mission to service the International Space Station.

Endeavour undocked from the orbiting outpost Tuesday, beginning the long journey home that will end with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Endeavour's mission at the space station included five spacewalks, during which shuttle astronauts installed an external platform on the station's Japanese lab, known as Kibo, or "hope."  The platform will allow scientists to conduct experiments in the vacuum of space.

The crew also conducted maintenance work on the station.

While the shuttle was docked at the station, the outpost's population grew to 13 - the highest number in its history.

The shuttle will be bringing back Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who has been on the space station since March.  U.S. astronaut Timothy Kopra is taking his place.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.