Space shuttle Endeavour expected to land Friday

A record 13 astronauts were assembled in space when the Endeavour crew met with space station inhabitants.
The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour is set to land Friday morning in Florida after spending 16 days in space.

The shuttle is scheduled to land at 10:48 a.m. ET at Kennedy Space Center, NASA said. If the weather turns bad, the landing could be delayed till 12:22 p.m. The forecast is favorable, though there is a slight chance of rain. The seven-member crew lifted off on July 15 after five previous launch attempts due to weather and technical issues on a mission to the international space station. Once at the station, the crew met with the six inhabitants, bringing the number of astronauts ever assembled in orbit to a record high of 13. The crew dropped off American astronaut Timothy L. Kopra and picked up Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata for the return trip to Earth. The shuttle also carried several key components for Japan’s Kibo science laboratory. Also called the Japanese Experiment Module, Kibo is Japan’s first human space facility and has been in the making for more than 20 years. Watch what’s next for NASA ยป

The mission’s primary goal was to install a porch-like platform for the international space station, NASA said. The shuttle is to begin its descent from orbit with a deorbit engine firing at 9:42 a.m.