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SHUTTLE'S HUBBLE MISSION GIVES NASA NEEDED LIFT

Space shuttle Discovery returned to Earth Monday after a Christmastime mission to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, giving the National Aeronautics and Space Administration a badly needed success.

Air Force Col. Curtis Brown landed the shuttle at 7:01 p.m. EST at Kennedy Space Center.

NASA passed up the first opportunity for the shuttle to land at 5:18 p.m. EST because of concerns about crosswinds on the runway. Instead, Discovery made the 13th night landing in the history of the shuttle program with the runway lit up by xenon lights.

NASA scrapped a planned news conference with the astronauts. Instead, the astronauts were to spend the night with their families in a hotel before flying to Houston today. The mission, originally scheduled to last 10 days, was cut to eight because of several launch delays and NASA's desire to have the shuttle on the ground well before New Year's to avoid any Y2K computer problems.

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