NASA’s Return to Flight crew met with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office at the White House this afternoon. The seven astronauts flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery last summer. Their mission, designated STS-114, was the first since the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003.

President Bush greeted NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and Discovery’s commander Eileen Collins, pilot Jim Kelly, and mission specialists Steve Robinson, Andy Thomas, Wendy Lawrence, Charlie Camarda and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. A photograph of the meeting will be posted on the Web at:

During their 14-day flight, the astronauts tested new equipment and procedures developed to improve safety. The crew also resupplied and made repairs to the International Space Station. The mission included an unprecedented back flip maneuver as the shuttle approached the station and the first repair of the orbiter’s heat shield while in space.

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