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Shuttle crew happy to be home

22/08/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Five of the seven Return to Flight crew members spoke to SFcrowsnest during a press conference from Edwards Air Force Base in California. Commander Eileen Collins opened the briefing speaking of the team's excitement to come home.

"It's absolutely fantastic being back here on planet Earth," Collins told SFcrowsnest.

Later, Collins elaborated on the spectacular view from space. "We saw some of the most beautiful parts of the Earth," said Collins. "At night we saw Southern Lights -- in fact we flew through the aurora!"

Pilot Jim Kelly remarked on the confidence he had in the entire Space Shuttle team. "In this job we are the tip of a pyramid of thousands and thousands of people and you can't sit at the top without trusting them."

After Kelly spoke, Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi from the Japanese Space Agency expressed his happiness and satisfaction with the flight. "It has been a great honor to participate in this mission and with this crew," said Noguchi. "I feel like going back to the station tomorrow."

Discovery spent two weeks in space, where the crew demonstrated new methods to inspect and repair the Shuttle in orbit. The crew also delivered supplies, outfitted and performed maintenance on the International Space Station. A number of these tasks were conducted during three spacewalks.

In an unprecedented event, spacewalkers were called upon to remove protruding gap fillers from the heat shield on Discovery's underbelly. In other spacewalk activities, astronauts installed an external platform onto the Station's Quest Airlock and replaced one of the orbital outpost's Control Moment Gyroscopes.

Inside the Station, the STS-114 crew conducted joint operations with the Expedition 11 crew. They unloaded fresh supplies from the Shuttle and the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. Before Discovery undocked, the crews filled Raffeallo with unneeded items and returned to Shuttle payload bay.

Discovery launched on July 26 and spent almost 14 days on orbit.

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