Shuttle astronauts returned to Earth from Russia’s Mir space station Monday with warm memories of their brief visit and the three friends they left behind.
“Yeah, we would have liked to have stayed a little bit longer,” commander Kenneth Cameron said after touchdown. “But, I mean, Atlantis has other missions to fly, and we had a mission to carry out. We’d done it.”
Mission Control greeted Cameron in Russian after he had guided Atlantis through an overcast sky and had landed at Kennedy Space Center, and it complimented the five-member crew on a “great job” on the eight-day docking mission.
“A big thank-you,” Cameron replied in Russian. He added in English: “Good to be home.”