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Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands in California

22 June 2007

The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis has landed in California, after bad weather kept it from returning to its home base in Florida.

Atlantis is returning from a two-week mission to the International Space Station. The voyage was complicated by problems with the station's computers and the shuttle's heat shield.

Among the seven astronauts returning to Earth is Indian-American Sunita Williams, whose six months at the station set a new record for the longest stay in space for a woman.

U.S. astronaut Clayton Anderson has taken her place aboard the orbital outpost.

During their mission, the Atlantis crew docked at the International Space Station and conducted four spacewalks, to do construction and repairs on both the station and the shuttle.

NASA engineers cleared the shuttle to return to Earth after determining that a repaired thermal blanket on the shuttle's exterior could withstand the intense heat of re-entering the atmosphere. The blanket was damaged on takeoff.

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