Endeavour touches down after 16 days in orbit
San Francisco (CA) - The space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of seven astronauts touched down at 10:48 a.m. EDT at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
"I can't say enough how great this mission was," said Bill Gerstenmaier of NASA. "We got everything accomplished on board the space station that we needed to do with this mission. Then to cap it off with a wonderful landing like today was just phenomenal."
Canadian Space Agency Director General of Operations Benoit Marcotte Benoit expressed similar sentiments.
"This was a thorough success of planning from teams all around the world," explained Marcotte. "It was truly an impressive demonstration of international collaboration all throughout this mission."
Endeavour lifted off July 15 at 6:03 p.m. EDT from Kennedy's Launch Pad 39A. While in orbit, the Endeavour crew participated in a number of spacewalks to complete construction of Japan's Kibo laboratory and replaced batteries in the station's solar power system.
The mission was somewhat marred by a series of minor incidents, including multiple postponed launch dates, falling debris during liftoff, a broken multi-million dollar ISS toilet and a malfunctioning air-filtering system.