122 Million Miles Later, Endeavour Makes Last TouchDown - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

122 Million Miles Later, Endeavour Makes Last TouchDown

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The space shuttle Endeavour and its six astronauts returned to Earth on Wednesday, closing out the next-to-last mission in NASA's 30-year program with a safe middle-of-the-night landing.

Endeavour touched down on the runway a final time under the cover of darkness, just as Atlantis, the last shuttle bound for space, arrived at the launch pad for the grand finale in five weeks.

Commander Mark Kelly — whose wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, remained behind at her rehab center in Houston — brought Endeavour to a stop before hundreds of onlookers that included the four Atlantis astronauts who will take flight in July.

"122 million miles flown during 25 challenging spaceflights," Mission Control told Kelly and his crewmates, who wrapped up U.S. construction at the International Space Station. "Your landing ends a vibrant legacy for this amazing vehicle that will long be remembered. Welcome home, Endeavour." 

Kelly replied: "It's sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy."

He thanked all those who worked on Endeavour over the years.

At a press conference following the landing, Kennedy Space Center shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach commended the astronauts and everyone involved in Endeavour's final mission. "We've had a really good morning," Leinbach said.

>>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE AND TO WATCH THE VIDEO REPORT FROM MSNBC

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