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Shuttle Atlantis Crew Returns Home After Successful Mission

> :June 22, 2007
>> John Yembrick
>> Headquarters, Washington 202-358-0602
>> George Diller
>> Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
>> 321-867-2468
>> EDWARDS, Calif. -- The space shuttle Atlantis and its crew are home 
>> after completing a 14-day journey of more than 5.8 million miles in 
>> space. Atlantis' STS-117 mission successfully increased the power 
>> capability of the International Space Station, preparing for the 
>> future delivery of European and Japanese laboratories.
>> Atlantis' Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault and mission 
>> specialists Jim Reilly, Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, John 
>> "Danny" Olivas and Sunita Williams landed at Edwards Air Force Base, 
>> Calif., Friday at 3:49 p.m. EDT.
>> Atlantis' crew attached the new S3/S4 solar array truss segment on 
>> the right side of the station's backbone, deployed a new set of solar 
>> arrays, and retracted the Port 6 starboard solar array back into its 
>> box. The station has a new look with two symmetrical solar panels 
>> mounted on each end of the station's truss.
>> Reilly, Olivas, Swanson and Forrester, with the help of crewmates, 
>> made four spacewalks to complete the construction tasks. They 
>> activated the truss segment and the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint, which 
>> allows the new arrays to track the sun, and helped fold the Port 6 
>> array. During the third spacewalk, the crew repaired a 4-by-6 inch 
>> raised corner of a thermal blanket on the port side Orbital 
>> Maneuvering System pod. Aerodynamic forces during Atlantis' ascent 
>> lifted the blanket.
>> While the crew worked in space, ground teams were troubleshooting a 
>> problem with Russian computers that help control the station's 
>> attitude. Russian specialists worked closely with teams in the United 
>> States to recover the computer capabilities.
>> NASA astronaut and station Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson, who 
>> launched with the crew aboard Atlantis, remained on the station. He 
>> is scheduled to return home aboard space shuttle Discovery on a 
>> mission targeted for launch in October. Anderson replaced Williams, 
>> who set a new record for a single, long-duration spaceflight by a 
>> woman with 195 days. She arrived at the station in December 2006 
>> aboard space shuttle Discovery.
>> STS-117 was the 118th space shuttle flight, the 21st flight to the 
>> station, the 28th flight for Atlantis and the first of four missions 
>> planned for 2007.
>> Several inspections in orbit revealed no critical damage, and 
>> Atlantis' thermal protection system was declared safe for re-entry on 
>> flight day 13. Weather concerns prevented the crew from returning to 
>> NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., the primary end-of-mission landing 
>> site. In 7-10 days, Atlantis will be transported approximately 2,500 
>> miles from California to Florida on the back of a modified 747 jumbo 
>> jet. Once at Kennedy, Atlantis will be separated from the aircraft to 
>> begin immediate processing for its next flight, targeted for December 
>> 2007.
>> With Atlantis and its crew safely home, the stage is set for the next 
>> phase of International Space Station assembly. Preparations continue 
>> for space shuttle Endeavour's launch, targeted for August, on the 
>> STS-118 mission to deliver the S5 truss segment to the station.
>> For more on the STS-117 mission and the upcoming STS-118 mission, visit:
>> http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
>> -end-
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