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LAWMAKERS SEEK RETURN OF ATLANTIS.

Byline: JIM SKEEN Staff Writer

PALMDALE -- The state Assembly has passed a resolution seeking the return of the space shuttle Atlantis to its Palmdale birthplace after it is retired.

Assembly Joint Resolution 52, authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, asks the president, Congress and NASA to send Atlantis to Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale for display upon its planned retirement in 2008. The Assembly unanimously approved the resolution Thursday.

The vote ``demonstrates California's unified support of aerospace in California and acknowledges the Antelope Valley's critical role in the aerospace industry,'' Runner said. ``Continued aerospace activity for our community creates valuable employment and economic opportunity.''

Air Force Plant 42 is where the entire space shuttle fleet was assembled. Atlantis was built at what was then a North American Rockwell facility at the plant between 1980 and 1985. Atlantis first went into space in October 1985, flying an undisclosed Defense Department mission. The orbiter has since flown 20 more missions, including launching the Magellan probe to Venus and the Galileo probe to Jupiter. NASA plans to retire Atlantis after a mission tentatively scheduled for spring 2008.

``The men and women of Plant 42 have a long history of dedication to the space shuttle program,'' Runner said. ``Retiring the Atlantis in Palmdale will allow the hard-working folks at Plant 42 to finish the great work they started when Atlantis was first assembled.''

NASA plans to replace the space shuttle fleet with a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

james.skeen(at)dailynews

(661) 267-5743
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 2, 2006
Words:252
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