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Shuttle Endeavour cleared for atmospheric re-entry on June 1

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Space shuttle Endeavour

HOUSTON (PTI): After nearly 2 weeks in space, the crew of space shuttle Endeavour is preparing to un-dock from the International Space Station (ISS) and return home.

The massive orbiting laboratory is currently home to three station astronauts Ron Garan of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko and six visiting astronauts who are carrying out the final mission of the space shuttle Endeavour.

NASA cleared Endeavour on Saturday for atmospheric re-entry on its 25th and final flight after its astronauts completed construction of the ISS.

Shuttle commander Mark Kelly, pilot Greg Johnson and mission specialists Andrew Feustel, Mike Fincke, Greg Chamitoff and Roberto Vittori, launched into orbit on May 16, and docked at the space station two days later.

According to lead space station flight director Derek Hassmann, the shuttle and station crews do not have anything special planned for the Memorial Day weekend.

But, even if they don't have time over the weekend, there will be other opportunities to celebrate the occasion.

"Nobody has voiced any special plans," NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries told SPACE.com.

The STS-134 mission is the 25th and final flight of Endeavour before the shuttle is retired along with the rest of NASA's orbiter fleet later this year.

"There's an Endeavour Tribute event at 12:56 am CST Tuesday, and it wouldn't be out of line to expect something patriotic then if they missed the opportunity Monday."

As for the ground teams here at Mission Control in Houston, the flight controllers have no big plans either, "other than showing up for work," Hassmann told SPACE.com.

The shuttle crew is entering the homestretch of a 16-day mission to deliver a USD 2 billion astrophysics experiment and other supplies to the space station.

But even as the flight winds down, there is still work to be done before the astronauts make their journey back to Earth.

Early Sunday morning (May 29), Endeavour's crew will make final preparations for their departure from the space station.

The STS-134 mission is the 25th and final flight of Endeavour before the shuttle is retired along with the rest of NASA's orbiter fleet later this year.

Tags:

Endeavour  NASA  ISS  
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