Atlantis back home safe

by Chris Bergin

Shuttle Atlantis has arrived back home safely, following a successful mission to re-start assembly missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

The crew’s mission was to install 115-foot-long solar panels that will generate a quarter of the station’s power, tagged the most complex assembly mission in human space flight history.


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Atlantis’ descent from orbit began 60 minutes prior to landing, when Commander Brent Jett was given the go-ahead fire the orbiter’s OMS engines for 160 seconds, slowly the vehicle down ahead of re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere.

The re-entry was without issue, leading to a perfect landing on runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center just after 06:21 EDT (11:21 UK).

‘Nice to be back. It was a great team effort. Assembly is off to a good start,’ said Jett.

Atlantis and her engineers also came in for praise, following the conclusion to the mission, after the crew conducted their traditional walk-around the vehicle.

‘She was great over the entire mission,’ added Jett. ‘It was really critical that she performed well – and she did. So special thanks to all the folks here for preparing Atlantis for launch.

‘The condition she is in now is a real testament to the work you’ve put in beforehand. It was a pleasure to fly her and it’s good to be home.’

Further articles will follow…

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