Endeavour astronauts complete final spacewalk (2)

15:05, May 28, 2011      

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The space shuttle Endeavour is seen docked to the International Space Station in this photo taken using a digital camera with a fish-eye lens by spacewalking astronaut Mike Fincke and provided by NASA May 27, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

It was the 248th spacewalk U.S. astronauts have conducted and the 118th from space station airlocks. Landing is scheduled for 2: 32 a.m. EDT (0632 GMT) on Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Shuttle Atlantis is targeted to launch on July 8 for space shuttle's final flight.

Endeavour lifted off on May 16 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to deliver to the International Space Station a 2-billion- dollar, multinational particle detector known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).

AMS, a particle physics detector, is designed to search for various types of unusual matter by measuring cosmic rays. Its experiments are designed to help researchers study the formation of the universe and search for evidence of dark matter, strange matter and antimatter.

NASA's 30-year-old shuttle program is ending due to high operating costs. The Obama administration wants to spur private companies to get into the space taxi business, freeing NASA to focus on deep space exploration and new technology development.

When the U.S. space shuttle program officially ends later this year, the Russian space program's Soyuz capsule will be the only method for transporting astronauts to and from the station.

Source: Xinhua

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