1 Aug 2009

Space shuttle lands safely

6:54 am on 1 August 2009

The space shuttle descended safely to Earth on Friday, after a 16-day mission to the international space station.

Seven US, Canadian and Japanese astronauts aboard Endeavour touched down at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida at 1048 EDT on Friday.

Among them was Koichi Wakata, who returned to Earth after 138 days in space.

During the mission, the combined shuttle and ISS crews set a new record of 13 people on the orbiting outpost.

The astronauts delivered and installed the last major piece of a $US1 billion Japanese research complex at the station.

Five long spacewalks were held to equip solar power modules with new storage batteries.

The BBC reports NASA plans seven more shuttle missions to complete construction of the space station by the end of 2010. The next is scheduled to be the Discovery on 25 August.