STS 126 Pin
Primary Payload: Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Launched: Nov. 14
Launch Time: 7:55 p.m. EST
Launch Pad: 39A
Mission Duration: 15 days
Landing Date: Nov. 30, 2008
Landing Time: 4:25 p.m. EST
Landing Site: Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles
STS-126: NASA’s Extreme Home Improvement
Endeavour launches on the STS-126 mission
The International Space Station can now accommodate more inhabitants thanks to the gargantuan efforts of the STS-126 mission crew. In a beautiful nighttime burst of smoke and clouds, space shuttle Endeavour lifted off Nov. 14, 2008 at 7:25 p.m. EST from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe, Mission Specialists Steve Bowen, Donald Pettit, Shane Kimbrough, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Sandra Magnus delivered the most supplies and equipment ever carried to the station by a single mission.
Four spacewalks totaling 26 hours and 41 minutes were performed with much of the spacewalkers’ time devoted to repairing the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint on the right side of the station’s main truss.
There also was a bustle of activity aboard the orbiting outpost as the shuttle and station crews installed new home improvements, including two bedrooms, a water recycling facility and an exercise device.
After nearly 15 days, the Endeavour crew headed home with a new crew member. Greg Chamitoff, who had lived in space for six months, was replaced by Sandra Magnus. Magnus will remain flight engineer aboard the station until her return on shuttle Discovery with the STS-119 crew.
A scheduled Nov. 30 landing at Kennedy was thwarted because of stormy weather over the center. Endeavour was diverted to Edwards Air Force Base on the West Coast and made a picture-perfect landing in the California desert at 4:25 p.m. EST.
Landing at Edwards meant the shuttle would have to take a piggyback ride on NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for its return to Kennedy.
With a few stops along the way to wait out some inclement weather in Florida, Endeavour glided in for a touchdown at Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility under a brilliant blue sky Dec. 12, at 2:44 p.m. EST — officially ending an exceptionally successful mission.
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