Astronaut talks about what it's like to be back on Earth

BELLEVILLE, Ill. _ The fresh, ocean breeze was the first thing astronaut Sandra Magnus noticed when the Space Shuttle Discovery hatch opened after landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"I was lying there, and I immediately noticed the fresh air breeze coming off the ocean, and I was very excited," said Magnus, a Belleville native. "I didn't even realize I hadn't had a fresh air breeze like that in 4 1 / 2 months because I'd become so used to the air on the space station."

Magnus, 44, returned to Earth on March 28 after 4 1 / 2 months aboard the International Space Station. She is back home in Houston.

She's been in rehabilitation therapy since she returned to help reteach her body how to work, rebuild strength and get neural pathways working correctly again so she can do multiple tasks at once, such as walking and turning her head while throwing and catching a ball. She was able to start driving again a week ago.

To read the complete article, visit