Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes Final Return to Earth

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US space shuttle Endeavour comes in to land at Kennedy Space Center on June 1, 2011. Endeavour landed safely at Kennedy Space Center, wrapping up its final mission to space before becoming the next to last US shuttle to retire. "It is sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy," said shuttle commander Mark Kelly moments after landing the youngest ship in the US fleet, ending its 25th journey to space. AFP PHOTO / BRUCE WEAVER (Photo credit should read BRUCE WEAVER/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: BRUCE WEAVER/2011 AFP

Space shuttle Endeavour and its six astronauts — including commander Mark Kelly, the husband of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords — landed for the final time today at the Kennedy Space Center after a sixteen-day mission to the International Space Station. The shuttle made 248 orbits around Earth and traveled more than 6.5 million miles while installing a $2 billion cosmic ray detector, an extension beam, and a platform full of spare parts to the International Space Station. Before the shuttle's landing, thousands watched Atlantis make its way to the launch pad for the last-ever space shuttle launch, scheduled to take place on July 8. Endeavour is bound for a museum in California, and Atlantis will be sent to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex for public display after its mission.

Next-to-Last Space Shuttle Flight Lands on Earth [AP]