NPR logo Shuttle Atlantis Touches Down in California


Shuttle Atlantis Touches Down in California

The astronauts aboard space shuttle Atlantis are safely back on Earth, after a California landing forced by thunderstorms at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Two weeks ago, Atlantis blasted off from a launch pad in Florida. And Florida is where NASA officials wanted the shuttle to land. But bad weather around Kennedy Space Center forced the agency to send Atlantis to its backup landing site, at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The seven astronauts touched down safely at 3:49 p.m., ET.

In about a week, NASA will use a jumbo jet to ferry Atlantis back to Florida for processing — that trip will cost over $1.7 million.

The landing concludes NASA's first mission to the international space station this year. The next one is scheduled for August.