Heralded by twin sonic booms as it re-entered the atmosphere over the Central Coast on Sunday morning, space shuttle Atlantis touched down at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert.
Atlantis had been scheduled to return to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida two days ago, but bad weather forced a rare West Coast landing, which occurred at 8:39 a.m. The shuttle traveled nearly 5.3 million miles and circled Earth 197 times on its 13-day mission, which launched May 11.
NASA officials said the crew accomplished major repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope, including installing a new camera and replacing batteries. The work is expected to extend Hubble’s operational lifetime for at least another five years.
After undergoing a rigorous examination, the shuttle will be piggybacked back to Florida.
The booms accompanying the shuttle’s re-entry rattled windows, shook houses and startled people and pets alike throughout the South Coast.
— Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.