It was the 51st shuttle mission to end with a landing at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Atlantis touched down on concrete runway 22 at 2:49:38 p.m. concluding a 13 day, 20 hour, 12 minute flight. NASAís 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft will deliver Atlantis back to Florida in about a week so that it can be prepared for a December flight carrying the next laboratory module to the station on behalf of the European Space Agency.
The crew spent the morning in the worldís largest holding pattern as flight controllers kept a close eye on weather. Showers, thunderstorms and low clouds at Kennedy Space Center knocked Florida out of the running on both the first and second landing opportunities of the day, so flight controllers took their first chance at Edwards, where weather was pristine.
Atlantis crew members, Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault, and Mission Specialists Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, Danny Olivas, Jim Reilly and Sunita Williams, who is returning home after 194 days, 18 hours, 58 minutes in space, will return to Houston on Saturday. A welcoming ceremony for the crew's return to Houston is planned for 4:15 p.m. Saturday at NASA Hangar 276 at Ellington Field.
During Atlantisí mission to the International Space Station, the crew performed four spacewalks during which they worked with the station crew to build the station into a near-symmetrical configuration, adding a new starboard truss segment and solar array pair, while folding another array in preparation for its relocation later this year.
Atlantis also delivered Clay Anderson, the stationís newest flight engineer, who will spend the next six months living and working on the station.
The next shuttle mission, targeted for early August, will see the return to flight of space shuttle Endeavour to deliver another segment of the stationís truss and 5,000 pounds of food, clothing, supplies and spare parts. Endeavourís last mission was in December 2002.