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Posted at 08:37 AM ET, 06/01/2011

Endeavour lands for the final time (Video)

Under a cloak of dark, Endeavour touched down on Earth for the last time. (NASA)
Endeavour landed on Earth for the final time early Wednesday, completing the next-to-last mission of NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program. On their final mission, which lasted 16 days and featured four spacewalks, the shuttle’s crew completed construction of the International Space Station.

“Your landing ends a vibrant legacy for this amazing vehicle that will long be remembered,” Mission Control told Commander Mark Kelly and his crewmates. “It’s sad to see her land for the last time,” Kelly said, “but she really has a great legacy.”

The next stop for the shuttle, which racked up over 4,500 orbits of Earth and about 122.88 million miles in 19 years of flight, is a museum in California. Atlantis will be NASA’s last space shuttle to make the voyage into space, launching July 8 at Kennedy Space Center.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Kelly’s wife, did not attend the landing. The couple will be reunited in Houston Thursday.

(Source: Associated Press)

Watch the space shuttle’s landing below:

By  |  08:37 AM ET, 06/01/2011

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