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Shuttle Atlantis Flying Back to Florida

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Mounted atop a modified 747 jet known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, space shuttle Atlantis departed Edwards Air Force Base in California on Monday morning to begin its journey home to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The pair arrived at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas at 1:22 p.m. EDT (11:22 a.m. MDT) and will spend the night there before resuming the cross-country trip tomorrow. Atlantis may be home on Tuesday if weather permits.

The Shuttle Atlantis and a crew of seven astronauts landed at Edwards on May 24, concluding the STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope for the last time. During the post-landing briefing, Associate Administrator for Space Sciences Ed Weiler declared the mission a total success, and after noting the rocky road that it took to get the mission completed, said he considered the mission to be a "Great American comeback story" for the Hubble.

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