Time, indeed, flies by so fast. It would seem that we just reported that the Endeavour’s trip to the International Space Station – pushed back a number of times due to various reasons – has finally become a reality, with the crew lifting off to the great beyond from the Kennedy Space Station. Today, they are coming home.
The shuttle Endeavour has completed its 16-day mission on the International Space Station. We have been following its mission closely as it was a significant milestone in the post-SEAL career of former Navy SEAL Chris Cassidy, who became the second man with Navy SEAL service in his career history to travel into space. The shuttle launched on July 15, after five cancelled attempts. It brought an additional seven astronauts to the International Space Station, bringing the station’s population up to a record number of 13. It was a rather cozy crowd for the ISS, which is about the size of a four-bedroom house.
Among the tasks accomplished by the mission is the delivery and installation of fresh batteries and large spare parts, as well as a “porch” for the Japanese Kibo science laboratory. The addition of the “porch” to the laboratory now provided the ability to conduct experiments that will expose samples to the harsh environment of space. A total of five space walks were conducted; Chris Cassidy’s first space walk had to be cut short when Mission Control observed an increase in the carbon dioxide levels of his space suit.
The temporary space family also had to deal with something rather domestic during the mission: a flooded toilet.
The first attempt at touch down is reportedly scheduled for 10:47 EDT at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, according to a BBC report. NASA said that the weather forecast for the touch down looks good, although there may be a slight chance of rain.
The Endeavour will still bring home seven astronauts, even if astronaut Tim Kopra, who flew to the Space Station aboard the shuttle, will be staying behind. His seat will be taken by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who is ending a 138-day stay in space.