- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2011

HOUSTON (AP) - Thousands of people welcomed home the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis Friday afternoon. It was the first time the general public got to cheer the final crew of the now-retired space shuttle fleet.

People braved triple-digit heat in an airplane hangar with no air conditioning for the chance to see, hear and maybe get autographs from the crew that called themselves The Final Four.

Commander Christopher Ferguson, pilot Douglas Hurley, Rex Walheim and Sandra Magnus were aboard Atlantis as it landed early Thursday morning after a 13-day flight to resupply the International Space Station one final time. After 30 years of flying, the four remaining space shuttles are becoming museum pieces. NASA is looking at a trip to an asteroid now.

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