NASA's first Space Shuttle mission of 1996, the STS72/Endeavour, ended with a safe landing at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on 20 January, after a successful eight day 22h flight, which included two space walks, gaining NASA 24h of space walk experience, in preparation for the assembly of the Alpha International Space Station.

The Endeavour crew - including Japan's first NASA mission specialist - deployed and retrieved a science free-flier and the Japanese Space Flyer Unit, launched on an H2 booster in 1995. The next mission, STS75/Columbia, on a re-flight of the Italian Tethered Satellite System, has been scheduled for late February.

Source: Flight International