Endeavour Heads Home, Dodging Dean

Hurricane threat to Mission Control lessens, but shuttle leaves early
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2007 5:50 PM CDT
This image provided by NASA on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007, shows Canadian astronaut Dave Williams during the final of four space walks on the international space station, Saturday, Aug. 18. Astronauts aboard...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – To a chorus of ringing bells, space shuttle Endeavour undocked today from the international space station, skipping out a day early because of fears Hurricane Dean could disrupt its landing operations. Even though revised predictions show the storm poses almost no threat to Houston and Mission Control, the AP reports, Endeavour will land at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Tuesday.

"The threat is certainly somewhat less than it was the last two days," said a NASA official, but the move was in motion before the forecast shaped up. The new timetable prevented the departing shuttle from circling the space station as it normally does, and forced teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan to cancel a session with students in Massachusetts.