Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Sunday, 24 May 2009 16:46 UK

Space shuttle lands in California


The crew said it was a "thrill from start to finish"

The space shuttle Atlantis has landed in California, where it was diverted after continuing stormy weather prevented a Florida touchdown.

Atlantis landed at 1539 GMT at Edwards Air Force Base.

Officials had aborted Saturday's planned landing at the Kennedy Space Center for the second consecutive day.

The seven astronauts on board Atlantis have taken part in an ambitious and risky mission to service and re-fit the Hubble telescope.

Nasa said that weather conditions over Florida forced flight controllers to give up on Sunday's first landing opportunity at Kennedy Space Center.

Hubble revamped

Atlantis's mission was intended to give a new lease of life to Hubble.

The orbiting observatory is regarded as one of the most important scientific tools ever built.

The fifth and final mission to service Hubble has been hailed as a great success.

Over five spacewalks, astronauts installed new instruments and thermal blankets, repaired two existing instruments, replaced gyroscopes and batteries.

The only disappointment was the failure to restore the high resolution channel (one of three) on the Advanced Camera for Surveys, which has been responsible for many of Hubble's most impressive images of deep space.

"This is not the end of the story but the beginning of another chapter of discovery by Hubble," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for Science at Nasa Headquarters.

"Hubble will be more powerful than ever, continue to surprise, enlighten, and inspire us all and pave the way for the next generation of observatories."

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