Atlantis homeward bound

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (AP) -- The shuttle Atlantis and its crew are undocking from the international space station after a successful mission to deliver and help install a new science lab.

Sunday's tearful goodbyes were followed by the sealing of the hatches. The shuttle is due to land Wednesday either at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida or at the backup landing site in California. NASA wants Atlantis to land Wednesday so the military can safely shoot down a damaged spy satellite.

Astronaut Daniel Tani was especially emotional as he left the international space station, his home for the past four months.

Before floating into Atlantis for his long-overdue ride home, Tani paid tribute to his mother, who was killed in a car accident while he was in space. And he said he's eager to get back to his wife and two little girls.

The space agency already is looking ahead to the next shuttle flight to the orbiting station. Endeavour will be moved to the launch pad Monday in preparation for a March 11th liftoff.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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