Shuttle crew lands at Ellington

March 29, 2009 5:20:11 PM PDT
Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery are now home in Houston after finishing up their hard work in space. The mission they just wrapped up is expected to be one of the last using the shuttle. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It was a busy trip with three full space walks. Sunday evening those astronauts went home to their families from Ellington Field.

The mission lasted 13 days with nine of those connected to the space station. The crew installed solar wings to add extra power to the station. That work will help to expand the station to a six person crew which will happen in May.

Discovery returned home with Sandra Magnus who was at the station for more than four months.

"Of course flying in space is fun, it's great, it's a unique experience," said space station crew member Sandra Magnus. "But what you sense up there is you are kind of the pinnacle of the mountain and you got all these people supporting you. You feel that sense of team. You touch everybody all over the world who's working in the space program because of their passion for exploration and the need to go out and expand the human technology and frontiers."

Magnus' replacement was a Japanese astronaut who launched with this crew.

NASA is already preparing for the next shuttle mission planned right now for May 12th. The shuttle Atlantis is supposed to head to the Hubble Telescope. The crew will make upgrades and repairs. It's supposed to be the final shuttle mission to Hubble, since the shuttle fleet is supposed to be retired next year.

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