California Landing Ends Shuttle's Hubble Trip

By: CNN
By: CNN
The space shuttle Atlantis landed at California

In this image provided by NASA, Space Shuttle Atlantis is backdropped by the blackness of space and the thin line of Earth's atmosphere Wednesday, May 20, 2009. (AP Photo/NASA)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, California (CNN) -- The space shuttle Atlantis landed at California's Edwards Air Force Base on Sunday, after rainy Florida weather precluded a Kennedy Space Center landing for a third day.

The space shuttle Atlantis touches down at Edwards AFB on Sunday.

The landing was the 53rd at Edwards, NASA officials said. In the early days of the space shuttle program, Edwards was its primary landing site.

Officials said Sunday's Florida weather was better than conditions Saturday, but atmospheric conditions in Florida remained too unstable for landing.

Atlantis launched May 11 for NASA's final repair visit to the Hubble Space Telescope. Shuttle astronauts conducted space walks during the mission to perform routine repairs and replace key instruments, in what has been called one of the most ambitious space repair efforts ever attempted.

Hubble was released back into orbit Tuesday morning.

Hubble, which has been in space for nearly two decades, can capture clear images that telescopes on Earth cannot, partly because it does not have to gaze through murky atmospheres.


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