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Atlantis Lands Safely in Fla.

Landing clears way for military to shoot down satellite
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2008 8:46 AM CST
Atlantis Lands Safely in Fla.
The space station's robotic Canadarm2 moves the Columbus laboratory from its stowage position in Space Shuttle Atlantis' (STS-122) payload bay to the starboard side of the Harmony module Monday Feb. 2008. Mission managers on Wednesday Feb. 13, 2008 decided to keep the shuttle there an extra day so...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Space shuttle Atlantis landed safely at Kennedy Space Center this morning, capping a successful 13-day mission in which it delivered Europe's first permanent lab to the International Space Station after months of delay, reports Space.com. The shuttle's return clears the way for the US Navy to shoot down a dying satellite headed toward Earth, possibly as soon as tonight.

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Atlantis touched down just days after NASA rolled its sister ship Endeavor onto the launch pad for a scheduled March 11 launch that will deliver the first piece of a Japanese lab. Atlantis returned astronaut Daniel Tani to Earth after a 120-day stay at the station, during which his mother died. French astronaut Leopold Eyharts stayed behind.  (Read more space shuttle stories.)

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