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Atlantis shuttle returns safely to Florida

world Updated: Feb 21, 2008 14:38 IST
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Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down safely at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday morning after a near 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

"We appreciate all the great help and support," Commander Steve Frick told NASA's mission control in Houston after the shuttle came to a stop at 9:08 am (1408 GMT).

Frick and his six crewmembers returned to Earth after bringing up and installing the Columbus laboratory on the ISS - Europe's most significant contribution to the space station so far.

Also returning to Earth on Wednesday was Daniel Toni, a US astronaut who spent four months on board the ISS. Leopold Eyharts, a French astronaut who came up with Atlantis on February 7, took Toni's place on the station.