KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The space shuttle Endeavour's astronauts gave up trying to fix an experimental water-recycling system after hours of work Monday and instead focused on coming home.
Rain at Kennedy Space Center threatened to delay the crew's return, however. Endeavour was scheduled to land at the space center at 5:44 a.m. PDT today, eight days after the satellite-retrieval and research mission began.
NASA had considered adding a ninth day to the flight if the astronauts could repair the water-recycling equipment, one of dozens of experiments in the new shuttle lab, Spacehab.
Engineers working on the recycling system for NASA's planned space station wanted to test their equipment in weightlessness. The system turns wash water, urine and perspiration into safe and even tasty drinking water; the equipment on Endeavour was trying to purify water contaminated with potassium iodide.