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Shuttle Returns After Two Week Mission

CAPE CANAVERAL - Endeavour and six astronauts brushed aside thin clouds late Sunday to land safely at Kennedy Space Center, ending a two-week mission that added a last U.S. room to the International Space Station.

"Congratulations to you and the crew on an outstanding mission," radioed Rick Sturckow, an astronaut communicating with the crew from Houston, after the 10:20 p.m. touchdown.

"It's great to be home," replied Endeavour commander George Zamka. "It was a great adventure."

Poor weather forecasts threatened to keep the crew in orbit an extra day.

But skies remained clear enough for Zamka and pilot Terry Virts to guide Endeavour through a dive to KSC's runway seven times steeper and 20 times faster than a commercial airliner.

Also on board Endeavour were mission specialists Bob Behnken, Kay Hire, Nick Patrick and Steve Robinson.

At the space station, the crew installed the Tranquility module and a dome-shaped observation deck, called the cupola, that offered stunning new views of Earth through seven windows.

Endeavour's night landing at KSC became the 17th in the shuttle fleet's three decades of service. The mission's night launch Feb. 8 was the 34th by a shuttle.

The next mission is targeted for launch April 5. Discovery's flight is one of four remaining before NASA plans to end the shuttle program.

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