A couple hours after landing back at Kennedy Space Center, the crew of STS-118 spoke enthusiastically about their 13 days in orbit and work on the International Space Station.
"It was a great experience and the space station is really, I think, a stepping stone to going back to the moon and on to Mars some day," commander Scott Kelly said.
Teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan said she is still getting used to gravity again, but that spaceflight was a great experience that she hopes more teachers get to share in.
"The flight was absolutely wonderful," she said. "I felt like I was upside-down the whole first day."
Canadian astronaut Dave Williams said the thrill never gets dull.
"It's truly the ride of a lifetime," Williams said of the launch Aug. 8. "Look over your shoulder and you can see Hurricane Dean."
The flight delivered a new segment to the International Space Station, along with 5,800 pounds of supplies and equipment.
As far as the ding in a couple of heat shield tiles, Kelly said it did not bother him much.
"I was a little bit underwhelmed by the size of the gouge," he said. "To see it, it looked rather small."
Photos of Tile Damage
+ View Hi-Res Image of Tile Damage
+ View Hi-Res Image of Tile Taken in Space
+ STS-118 Mission Overview
+ STS-118 Fact Sheet (900 Kb PDF)
+ STS-118 NASA TV Schedule