Making her overnight stop off in Nebraska, Atlantis – and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) she’s riding on top of – touched down at the Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha Sunday.
The second pit stop en route back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, thousands of people gathered around the landing strip to see Atlantis arrive, the first orbiter to visit since 1985.
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Atlantis and the SCA left Edwards Air Force Base in California at around 9pm Eastern, stopping off at Rick Husband Amarillo International airport for fuel, before heading on to Nebraska.
CBS affiliate Action 3 News noted that large crowds had gathered in observation points at the base, along with more spectators in nearby sports fields and vantage points.
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Readers of this site, local to the area, mailed to say that literally thousands were making their way to get a closer glimpse of Atlantis as she landed with the SCA.
With a NASA C9 and T-38 in attendance, the SCA/Atlantis duo touched down perfectly, under the able piloting of Gordon Fullerton – the pilot of STS-3 with Columbia and Commander of Challenger on 51F – and Frank Marlow out of the Johnson Space Center.
Atlantis and the SCA will remain at the Base until at least Monday morning, with a weather briefing to decide on when the duo will start the next leg of their journey.
‘We’re going to get out of here hopefully tomorrow morning,’ noted Leroy Cain, Flight Director and KSC manager, who gave interviews to the gathered media, including Action 3 News, who broke into regular programming to news flash Atlantis’ arrival.
‘We’re going to go back in just a while to get a weather briefing from our forecast experts to see if we can get out of here tomorrow morning and make our way east, to make our way to the Kennedy Space Center.
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