Mon, December 01, 2008
Sci-Tech > Science

U.S. space shuttle Endeavour lands in California after mission

2008-11-30 21:42:34 GMT2008-12-01 05:42:34 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour deploys a parachute after touching down at Edwards Air Force Base in California November 30, 2008. Endeavour landed safely in California Sunday afternoon after a 16-day trip, as unfavorable weather conditions in Florida prevented the shuttle from landing in its home base in Cape Canaveral. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour approaches Edwards Air Force Base in California November 30, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

International Space Station and Space Shuttle Endeavour crew members hug during a farewell and hatch closing ceremony aboard the ISS in this image from NASA TV November 27, 2008. The shuttle crew boarded their spacecraft, taking along Expedition 18 flight engineer Gregory Chamitoff who was replaced by Sandra Magnus on station as the crews closed the hatches in preparation for Friday's departure. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is seen with the earth in the background after undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) in this Nov. 28, 2008 image from NASA TV. Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station at 9:47 a.m. EST (1447 GMT) on Friday, wrapping up a 12-day operation, according to NASA TV. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. space shuttle Endeavour landed safely in California Sunday afternoon after a 16-day trip, as unfavorable weather conditions in Florida prevented the shuttle from landing in its home base in Cape Canaveral.

Residents across Southern California heard two sonic booms around 1:20 p.m. local time (2120 GMT), when Endeavour broke the sound barrier under the sunny sky as it was gliding into local airspace en route to Edwards Air Force Base, more than 150 kilometers north of Los Angeles.

At least one explosion call was received by the Los Angeles Fire Department, when people reacted to the twin sonic booms created by the space shuttle as it flew over the city.

Fire crews were sent to an apartment building near Studio City north of downtown Los Angeles and checked out the apartment complex, but concluded that residents had heard the shuttle, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

NASA announced earlier in the day that it had to reroute the space shuttle's landing in California after canceling two landing attempts in Florida's Kennedy Space Center due to the high winds there. It will cost the space agency over 1 million U.S. dollars to transport the shuttle back to Florida by loading it atop a special Boeing 747.

Endeavour was the first space shuttle to land this year in Edwards Air Force Base, which serves as NASA's backup landing site for its space program.

The space shuttle and its 7-member crew were returning from a successful trip which had helped upgrade the International Space Station for housing bigger crews. Four spacewalks were also conducted during the trip to repair the ISS's power system.

Endeavour's mission was the last by a U.S. space shuttle this year. The next NASA shuttle flight is scheduled for February to install the space station's last solar wing panel.

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