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23 Jun, 2007 02:15

NASA judges 28th mission a success

The space shuttle Atlantis has touched down safely at its backup location at the Edwards Airforce Base in California. Its first attempt was delayed due to bad weather conditions in Florida on Thursday.

The 28th mission’s touchdown was not an easy one due to problems with its thermal casing and severe computer failure at the ISS.

The March lift-off on a routine mission to deliver new components to the International Space Station had to be postponed when a freak hailstorm damaged the shuttle.

And when the Atlantis did finally lift off on June 8, one of the 'thermal blankets', that make up its casing, peeled off meaning that the astronauts at the ISS had to schedule an additional spacewalk to repair the damage.

And a computer malfunction on the Russian side of the ISS even raised the prospect that the Shuttle Atlantis might have to evacuate the astronauts.

The shuttle's re-entry was delayed due to bad weather and moved from Florida to California.

But, nevertheless, the landing was smooth.

This was also the first flight for the American astronaut Sunita Williams but she came back holding the record for the longest time spent consecutively in space by a woman – 195 days, the most spacewalks and the longest time spent in open space (over 29 hours).