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STS 106



Atlantis Ready To Come Home After 'Great Flight'
Crew Members Haul 3 Tons of Equipment into Space Station

.c The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Sept. 19) - Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew aimed 
for a pre-dawn touchdown Wednesday to cap a successful mission to the 
International Space Station.

''We've had a really great flight this time,'' said flight director Wayne 
Hale.

Space shuttles have landed in darkness only 14 times before. Nighttime 
landings are becoming more common, though, now that NASA has a space station 
in orbit. All three previous shuttle flights to the space station also ended 
in darkness.

During their five days inside the space station, Atlantis' astronauts and 
cosmonauts hauled in 3 tons of equipment for the first permanent crew.

Among the supplies: shampoo, cream, shaving gel, moist towels and napkins, 
Russian and American meals, ear plugs, medical kits, labels, printer parts, 
clamps, brackets, camera equipment and small bags for the crew to use to 
relieve themselves in case the toilet jams.

The seven shuttle crewmen also installed the toilet, oxygen generator and 
treadmill in the new living quarters, and ran power and TV cables up the 
outside.

Getting an extra day helped. The National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration stretched the mission to 12 days to give the astronauts more 
time inside.

''We started with 52 items in our to-do list and wound up doing 74 different 
tasks on board the station, large and small,'' Hale said Tuesday.

The only disappointment was with one of five new batteries that were plugged 
into the Russian modules. It would not charge properly and was disconnected; 
the first residents will deal with the problem when they arrive.

Another shuttle crew is scheduled to depart for the space station on Oct. 5 
aboard Discovery. The first space station residents will follow on Oct. 30 
aboard a Russian rocket, arriving two days later for a four-month stay.

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