Special to HarpBlaster.com News Wire/NASA.gov
Space shuttle Atlantis landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California at 11:39 a.m. EDT, completing a 13-day journey of approximately 5.3 million miles in space.
During a press conference held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Ed Weiler said, “Now, and only now can we declare this mission a total success — the astronauts are safely on the ground.”
Weiler called NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope the great comeback story. He said the public continues to be captivated by the telescope’s images of the universe and he hopes to see Hubble operate into its third decade of service.
NASA Launch Integration Manager Mike Moses agreed that this was a fantastic mission. “It’s good to have Atlantis back here on the ground,” said Moses. He also said the crew did a great job trying to get the shuttle back to Kennedy, even though the weather wouldn’t cooperate.
Mike Leinbach, NASA space shuttle launch director, congratulated the STS-125 crew and also commended the crew members who were ready and standing by in case space shuttle Endeavour was needed for a rescue mission.
He also said NASA still is targeting June 13 for Endeavour’s mission to the International Space Station.