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Atlantis crew returns home safely
27 November 2009 09:29 am
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Space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth on Friday at 9:44 a.m. ET after an 11-day mission to the international space station.

The landing, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, came one day after the crew of seven spent Thanksgiving testing the shuttle's flight system and stowing items in preparation for landing.

Amid preparations, crew members had a Thanksgiving meal that included smoked turkey, green beans, mushrooms, cornbread dressing and candied yams, according to NASA.

The crew returned after a mission to deliver key spare parts to prolong the life of the international space station. The parts will add years to the station's life after the space shuttle fleet is retired next year, according to NASA.

Some parts are for systems that keep the station from overheating or tumbling through space, NASA said. The original six-member crew returned to Earth with flight engineer Nicole Stott, who launched in August.

The mission included three spacewalks and installation of two platforms to the station's backbone. The platforms will hold spare parts that will sustain station operations after the shuttles are discontinued.

Russia will take over supplying the international space station.

On this mission, Atlantis also marked a 6 pound, 13 ounce development.

Astronaut Randy Bresnik welcomed a daughter from space, the second time a baby has been born to a U.S. astronaut on a mission.

Mike Fincke's daughter was born in June 2004 while he was aboard the international space station, NASA said.

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