Space shuttle Endeavour has safely returned to Earth, ending nearly two weeks of concern that centered on a deep gouge in the shuttle's belly and an early homecoming prompted by a hurricane.
The space shuttle touched down on the runway at Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 12:32 p.m., local time, swooping in out of a partly cloudy sky.
The shuttle wasn't supposed to return until tomorrow, but over the weekend, mission managers decided to cut its space station visit short. At the time, NASA was uncertain whether Hurricane Dean might threaten Houston, which is home to Mission Control.
Even though forecasters later put Houston out of harm's way, NASA decided to continue with the landing today.