Shuttle Endeavor lands at California Air Force Base

(CNN) — The space shuttle Endeavor landed safely Sunday afternoon at Edwards Air Force Base in California after NASA turned down two opportunities for a landing in Florida because of bad weather.

Endeavor plans for a landing Sunday at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The shuttle, led by Commander Christopher Ferguson, touched down at 1:25 p.m., ending a mission that lasted more than two weeks.

Wind, rain and reports of thunderstorms within 30 miles of the shuttle landing facility at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center prompted NASA to cancel landing attempts there. They were scheduled for 1:19 PM and 2:54 PM ET.

After determining that Monday’s weather forecast at Kennedy Space Center was just as promising, flight controllers decided they would try to land the shuttle and its seven astronauts at Edwards AFB, about 100 miles from Los Angeles, California, where the Sunday forecast was sunny.

Flight controllers prefer landings at Kennedy Space Center because of cost and schedule. NASA has estimated that it costs about $1.7 million to bring a shuttle to the Kennedy Space Center from California. video Watch Sunday’s Endeavor Landing in California »

It also takes at least a week to prepare the shuttle for the trip, but the schedule is not a big factor for Endeavour; not scheduled to fly again until May.

Endeavour’s 15-day mission to the International Space Station began on November 14 and included four spacewalks.

During that time, the crew brought in key pieces, including exercise equipment, more sleeping beds and a urine recycling system, for a project to double the station’s capacity from three internal astronauts to six.

The recycling system was installed to convert the astronauts’ urine and sweat into potable water.

Other modules are expected to arrive on a February shuttle flight. The goal of expanding the station’s capacity to six astronauts is expected to be reached in the summer.

The crew also worked on a joint that helps generate power for the space station. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve Bowen spent hours cleaning and lubricating the Solar Alpha rotary joint, which is designed to allow the solar panels on the left side of the station to rotate and follow the sun.


The astronauts also removed and replaced several sets of bearings.

The mission went according to plan, despite a small disruption on the first spacewalk when a grease gun leaked into Stefanyshyn-Piper’s tool bag, coating its entire interior with a film of lubricant. As he tried to clean it out, the bag, containing $100,000 worth of tools, floated away.

CNN’s Kate Tobin and Miles O’Brien contributed to this report.

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