Taking no chances against the power of Hurricane Dean, the crew of the space shuttle is preparing for an earlier than scheduled return to Earth. With all the last minute safety checks completed, Endeavour is due to touch down around 18.30 CET later today. It was decided to cut the mission short in case the severe weather should reach Texas and Mission Control. Hurricane Dean’s progress was photographed by the shuttle’s crew as they completed their tasks and undocked from the International Space Station.
Although the shuttle has a small gash in its heat shield, caused on launch by some loose insulation foam, a robotic scan of the area has shown that no repair was needed before re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.