Atlantis & Sunita Williams: Makes a SAFE Landing in California ~ World Amazing Information, Facts & News

After enormous hurdles and hours in the sky trying to safely land the Atlantis, the astronauts finally managed to do so at the Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, California. Sunita ‘Suni’ Williams and shuttle commander Rick Sturckow were amongst the seven astronauts who landed safely.

Suni Williams was happy to be back on Earth and was heard saying that she is looking forward to a slice of pizza and walking on the beach with her husband and dog Gorby. But she was sad to leave the International Space Station. She explained, “When you’ve been somewhere for six months, it becomes your home and it’s hard to leave.” Sunita Willams has now set an endurance record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman at 195 days.

Rick Sturckow, while standing on the landing strip, remarked, “It’s just great to be back on planet Earth. There were a lot of challenges on this mission and they were all dramatic. All the solutions worked well.” As of now, the Atlantis’ seven astronauts prepared to return to Houston from California to meet their families and friends. The California landing will cost NASA $1.7 million as Atlantis will have to be transported back to Florida atop a modified jumbo jet.

Authorities at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) breathed a sigh of relief after the landing. The Atlantis flight was the first one in the year by NASA. Until now, 2007 was a year they would have liked to forget. However, the successful space shuttle journey to the ISS and back would have given a boost to NASA’s morale.

NASA is planning to send more shuttle missions this year. They hope to retire the space shuttles by 2010 but plan to carry out many missions before that. Most of them are destined for the International Space Station but some of them are for the ailing Hubble Space Telescope.

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