NASA orders shuttle home 1 day early because of hurricane

Staff Report
The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Concerned that Hurricane Dean might disrupt flight operations, NASA moved up Endeavour's exit from the international space station to Sunday and ordered the shuttle to land a day early.

The astronauts had hurriedly completed a shortened spacewalk today and were still cleaning up from it when the decision came down from mission managers. The two crews shook hands and said goodbye, then closed the hatches between their docked spacecraft.

NASA worried the hurricane might veer toward Houston, the home of Mission Control, forcing an emergency relocation of flight controllers to Cape Canaveral. The makeshift control center there would not be nearly as good or big as the Houston operation, which is why managers wanted to bring Endeavour back to Earth early.

Landing is now set for Tuesday.