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The Space Shuttle Atlantis returns from its final flight……

Shuttle

What Can I say???

Space shuttle Atlantis returned from orbit on its last scheduled voyage Wednesday, closing out a 25-year flying career and safely bringing back six astronauts who boosted the International Space Station’s power and size.

The smooth landing was indicative of the entire 12-day mission — NASA’s third-to-last shuttle flight.

“That was pretty sweet,” Mission Control radioed after Atlantis glided through a clear morning sky and rolled down the runway. “That was a suiting end to an incredible mission.”

Commander Kenneth Ham said he was ready to turn the shuttle over to the ground teams and get Atlantis “back in the barn for a little bit.”

Mission Control had monitored storms throughout the early hours, but they dissipated by daybreak and remained at a safe distance. The cockpit erupted in cheers when Mission Control finally radioed the “go” to come home.

About 1,200 guests lined the Kennedy Space Center runway to welcome Atlantis and its crew home, the maximum allowable crowd. The lead flight directors for the space station construction mission came in from Houston for the event. Space center employees wore white ribbons with the name “Atlantis” and its picture embossed in gold.

“The legacy of Atlantis is now in the history books,” Mission Control’s commentator announced at touchdown.

This was Atlantis’ 32nd journey; the shuttle logged its 120-millionth mile shortly after midnight.

Only two shuttle missions remain, by NASA’s two other spaceships. NASA is pushing for one more flight for Atlantis, which would need White House approval.

The astronauts accomplished everything they set out to do after rocketing into orbit May 14, and did it with some humor. When Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert called to chat Tuesday, the one-liners zipped back and forth.

“We’ve got a new antenna on the space station, a new six-pack of batteries, a new module docked to the station, and generally have defeated the forces of evil, so we’re very happy about how things have gone,” said astronaut Garrett Reisman.

Ham and his crew turned serious, though, when reflecting on Atlantis’ quarter-century of service and the impending end of the space shuttle program…..

More……..

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May 26, 2010 - Posted by | Aircraft, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Military, Politics, Space, Travel, Updates, Women | , ,

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