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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 19:27 GMT 20:27 UK
Endeavour lands at last
Endeavour lands
The shuttle was running short on fuel
The US space shuttle Endeavour has landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a two-day delay.

Bad weather meant the descent had to be switched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Californian back-up site.

Daniel Bursch (left) and Carl Walz
Back on Earth, six months on
The orbiter touched down out of a clear blue sky at 1058 local time (1758 GMT), after nearly 15 days on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The four-strong crew brought back with them three ISS residents, two of whom had clocked up a new endurance record for Americans in space.

The craft had been carrying only enough fuel and supplies to stay in orbit until Thursday.

"Thanks for your patience. It's great to be back to planet Earth," astronaut Daniel Bursch told Mission Control after the landing.

Endurance record

Daniel Bursch and fellow astronaut Carl Walz set a new US space endurance mark, spending six and a half months in orbit, travelling nearly 130 million kilometres (81 million miles) and circling Earth 3,100 times.

Space endurance
Record-holder: Russia's Valery Poliakov at 437 days
Previous US record: Shannon Lucid at 188 days on Mir
Bursch and Walz: 196 days
This is still well short of the world record set by Russian Valery Poliakov in the mid-1990s when he served on the Mir platform for 437 consecutive days.

Together with their Russian commander Yury Onufrienko, the two astronauts formed the Expedition Four crew on the ISS.

Endeavour took up their replacement, Expedition Five, consisting of Peggy Whitson, Valery Korzun and Sergei Treschev.

The new team is due to study the effects of prolonged space flight on human muscles and carry out other medical experiments.

Endeavour's mission also continued construction work on the space platform. Astronauts Philippe Perrin, of France, and Franklin Chang-Diaz, of the US, performed three spacewalks.

One of their tasks was to repair a wrist-joint on the station's robotic arm. They also installed a platform that allows the arm to move around the exterior of the ISS.

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 ON THIS STORY
Watch the landing of the US space shuttle Endeavour

International Space Station

Analysis

Background

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

12 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
09 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
05 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
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