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NASA Clears Space Shuttle for Landing

20 August 2007

Mission controllers at the U.S. space agency NASA have cleared the space shuttle Endeavour for landing.

Officials say the decision, announced Monday, resulted from a review of imagery and data collected Sunday as the shuttle departed the International Space Station.

Endeavour's first opportunity to land at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be at midday Tuesday.

Officials decided to land the shuttle a day sooner than planned in order to avoid possible weather problems from hurricane Dean.

Previously, engineers decided against asking astronauts to try to repair damage to the orbiter's heat shield. A piece of ice or foam from the shuttle's external fuel tank gouged insulating tiles during the shuttle's August 8 launch.

NASA officials say the damage will pose no danger to the seven astronauts during their return to Earth.

During the nine days Endeavour was docked with the space station, its astronauts performed four spacewalks during which they accomplished construction tasks on the space station.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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