HOUSTON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour Sunday began their trip home from the International Space Station, NASA said.
The crew conducted a final inspection of the orbiter’s heat shield as it prepared to return to Earth.
In the event that Hurricane Dean threatens the area around Mission Control, Houston, the shuttle will land Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
To accommodate the early departure, astronauts Dave Williams and Clay Anderson Saturday finished the mission's shortened fourth spacewalk in just over five hours.
During their out-of-shuttle experience, Williams and Anderson installed a stand for the shuttle’s robotic arm extension boom on the station’s truss structure, installed an antenna and retrieved two experiment containers.
U.S. astronauts spent a total of 23 hours and 15 minutes floating outside the shuttle and space station on this mission. Saturday's final walk was the 92nd devoted to space station assembly, NASA said.