Space shuttle Atlantis, 7 astronauts head for morning landing to wrap up space station mission

By Marcia Dunn, AP
Friday, November 27, 2009

Space shuttle Atlantis heads for morning landing

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Space shuttle Atlantis and seven astronauts are on their way home.

Commander Charles Hobaugh and his co-pilot fired the braking rockets right on time Friday morning. That dropped the shuttle out of orbit and put it on course for a 9:44 a.m. landing.

Clear, crisp weather is awaiting the shuttle at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Mission Control says landing conditions are “absolutely stellar.”

Atlantis’ astronauts spent a week stockpiling the space station with big spare parts.

Nicole Stott is returning to Earth after three months at the outpost. She can’t wait to see her husband and 7-year-old son, and eat pizza. Fellow astronaut Randolph Bresnik has even bigger plans: to hold his infant daughter for the first time.

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