Astronaut wouldn't refuse return to space

January 18, 2007

German astronaut Thomas Reiter of the European Space Agency held a news conference Thursday to tell reporters he would enjoy returning to space.

The Paris-based ESA said Reiter presented a 45-minute report on the scientific results and daily work of his mission to the International Space Station. He returned to Earth on Dec. 22, 2006.

Reiter left Earth on July 4 aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle Discovery. Two days later, he formally joined the Expedition 13 crew on the ISS, marking the first time since the 2003 Columbia accident that a full, three-member crew was on board the orbiting space station.

During his mission he broke the previous European space duration record of 209 days held by ESA colleague Jean-Pierre Haigneré. Reiter spent nearly six months in space.

Asked if he felt at home aboard the ISS, Reiter said, "Yes, my parting from my two fellow crew colleagues was rather difficult. ... There are good days and bad days, and we went through them together.

"I wouldn't say 'no' if asked to go again."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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