Atlantis lands in California after successful Hubble fix
The space shuttle Atlantis made a picture perfect landing in Calfornia Sunday, nearly two days behind schedule at the end of a successful mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope.Bypassing Florida because of uncertain weather conditions, the shuttle and its crew of seven landed at this desert air base 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Los Angeles after 12 days, 21 hours and 37 minutes in flight.
"Congratulations on a very successful mission giving Hubble a new set of eyes that will continue to expand our knowledge of the universe," said mission control in Houston as it welcomed the US astronauts back to Earth.
"It was a thrill, from start to finish. We had a great ride," said co-captain Gregory Johnson.
Upon landing, shuttle commander Scott Altman thanked everyone for getting them home safely.
"At last! I didn't realize it was going to be so hard to get back to the Earth," he said.
"We're all thrilled to have the mission complete and it was a testament to the teamwork and cooperation of folks all across the country."
Atlantis blasted off on May 11 on what was scheduled to be an 11-day mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope and extend its range and life for another five years.