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Space Shuttle Atlantis returns home after its final planned mission

Space shuttle Atlantis and six astronauts ended a 12-day journey of more than 4.8 million miles with an 8:48
a.m. EDT landing Wednesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The third of five shuttle missions planned for 2010, this was the last scheduled flight for Atlantis. The mission, designated STS-132, delivered the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 to the International Space Station. Also known as Rassvet (“dawn” in Russian), the module provides additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.

Ken Ham commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers.

The mission’s three spacewalks focused on replacing and installing components outside the station, including replacing six batteries, installing a communications antenna and adding parts to the Canadian Dextre robotic arm.

A welcome ceremony for the astronauts will be held Thursday, May 27, in Houston. The public is invited to attend the 4 p.m. CDT event at Ellington Field’s NASA Hangar 990.

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