- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2011

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. (AP) - The astronauts aboard the orbiting shuttle-station complex have accomplished the No. 1 objective of their mission.

Early Thursday, the two crews successfully attached a cosmic ray detector to the International Space Station. The $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer was delivered by space shuttle Endeavour.

The instrument has a 3-foot magnet at its core. It will study the invisible universe, searching for both antimatter and dark matter for the rest of the life of the space station.

Back at Mission Control, meanwhile, engineers are analyzing several areas of damage on Endeavour’s belly. Thermal tiles were gouged and nicked during Monday’s liftoff. NASA wants to make certain the shuttle is safe to come home in two weeks.

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