Posted by Lydia on May 22nd, 2009
“Welcome home Atlantis.” Atlantis landed safely and successfully at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edward’s Air Force Base in the sunny California desert after 12 days, 21 hours and 37 minutes in space, completing 197 orbits of our Blue Planet and travelling a total of 5,279,124 miles. STS-125 successfully completed a high profile mission to update the Hubble Telescope during a total of thirty six hours of spacewalks.
Sunday Update to Original Post: Persistent bad weather in Florida gives our space travellers another day to view our home from above. As they carry supplies to last through tomorrow, Monday 24 May 2009, a decision will be made soon on the landing site. Will it be California or Florida? Mother Nature will decide. -LL
Atlantis will be circling our beautiful Blue Planet until Saturday due to thunderstorms in Florida. At this time it is still unsure whether the landing will be Florida or California. Of course a Florida landing is preferred since it will save $1.8 million US – the cost of a one-way transcontinental flight atop a modified jumbo jet. There are no plans to make any further upgrades, adjustments or repairs to the Hubble and the Shuttle program will be retired next year, replaced by a craft which will be used to ferry to the International Space Station and ultimately to the moon. Due to the possible dangers to Atlantis and its crew this Hubble mission required a ready backup shuttle and crew. We should start receiving new images from the upgraded replacement camera in September. The camera removed from the Hubble will be displayed in the Smithsonian.