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The Space Shuttle Atlantis landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center after completing its mission to the International Space Station.
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Courtesy of NASA

Space Shuttle Atlantis Returns
News story originally written on May 30, 2000

It took much longer than NASA had hoped, but the Space Shuttle Atlantis finally made it to the International Space Station (ISS) this past week. Delay after delay kept Atlantis grounded and the ISS in need of repairs. Scientists are rejoicing after the 10 day mission was completed with a landing at Kennedy Space Center.

Why are scientists so excited about the space station? The all-important service module should arrive this summer, which means astronauts will soon stay on the station. This mission's goal was to prepare the ISS for the module. The orbit was corrected and repairs were made. The next step is to add the service module made by Russia.

"The kind of health problems that we have to overcome on the way to Mars will be solved in a large part on the space station,'' NASA Administrator Dan Goldin said. "So the path to Mars goes right (through) the International Space Station.''

"We have a lot of launches coming once the (Zvezda) service module gets up there,'' Goldin said. "We have a lot of hard work ahead of us.''

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