Mission Accomplished: The Space Shuttle Atlantis has landed!

Space Shuttle Atlantis is now home!

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Whew hoo!  The Space Shuttle Atlantis landed safely this morning wrapping up a 5 million-mile journey which included 202 circles around the Earth and a successful installation of a European Science lab. 

The shuttle and its seven member crew touched down at Kennedy Space Center at 9:07 a.m. with family and top space program managers gathered to welcome them home.

“It’s been a great mission. We’re extremely happy to be home,” Frick told Mission Control. 

And just in time since the Navy has plans to shoot down a dying spy satellite on the verge of smashing into Earth with a payload of toxic fuel.  Hopefully, the Navy’s plans will be expedited as early as Wednesday night with a missile being launched from a warship in the Pacific.

A French astronaut, Leopold Eyharts will remain at the station with two others to help get Columbus up and running. Eyharts replaced NASA astronaut Daniel Tani, who returned home aboard Atlantis after 120 days in space.

Despite two months of delays due to mechanical troubles, Atlantis ended up with a seemingly trouble-free flight.  “She worked beautifully and perfectly,” Frick noted after inspecting his ship on the runway.

NASA‘s next mission is on March 11 with the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which will be the 25th U.S. mission to the International Space Station. The flight will deliver the Japanese experiment logistics module to the station for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.  

For a 2008 launch schedule go to:  http://www.space-coast.com/ThingsToDo/Attractions/Launch/

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