Mark Kelly and Shuttle Crew Back in Houston

Astronaut Mark Kelly and his crewmates returned home to Houston yesterday after landing space shuttle Endeavour at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. KUHF Health Science and Technology reporter Carrie Feibel has this story from the welcome-back event at Ellington Field.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords did not attend the public ceremony.

But her spokesman said Kelly was headed straight to the rehab hospital after the event to see his wife.

Kelly focused his comments on the shuttle’s legacy.

“Endeavour performed as if it was brand new. It’s spent to date about 299 days in space but it’s been just really really an incredible ship, and we’re already fond of it now.”

Each of the astronauts shared favorite moments from the 16-day mission.

Pilot Greg Johnson says that on the launch pad, Endeavour is —

“— a little like a live animal, you know it’s smoking and creaking and ready to lurch into the air.”


He says the moment of launch will remain one of the best in his entire life:

“In addition to the vibration and the sound and the acceleration, it was the visual of watching the Atlantic roar by as we accelerated out to the heavens.”

Astronaut Michael Fincke says he was thrilled to get back into orbit, just one last time.

“We could fly around again like superman. We could float stuff to each other. Eating was fun. And it was great to be back in orbit. And we’re traveling 17,500 miles an hour around our beautiful planet.”

Endeavour will eventually be displayed at the California Space Center in L.A.

From the KUHF Health, Science and Technology Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...