U.S. space shuttle Endeavor arrived back on earth after a two-week mission to install the 16-ton “Tranquility” node and its attendant cupola on the International Space Station, which will give the facility’s crew more docking space for vehicles. The cupola includes windows for a sweeping view of earth, the better for crew to manipulate a robotic arm used to help dock craft heading for the station. Endeavor’s was one of the few remaining missions before NASA plans on mothballing its shuttles by the end of the year.
The shuttle Endeavor made a rare nighttime landing at Kennedy Space Center Feb. 22, touching down at 10:20 pm EST. The vehicle’s six-member crew had successfully completed a two-week mission to install the last major component of the International Space Station, undocking from that orbital facility Feb. 19.