Aches and pains? Andrew Thomas says they're a small price to pay for being home after his 130-day stay aboard the Russian space station Mir.

"I've been having a wonderful time. I have a lot more freedom than I've enjoyed for a long time," the astronaut said in Houston Wednesday, nearly a month after he came down to Earth.Still, Thomas' neck aches. He says his shoulders are sore, "because of having to hold up my arms." Even his heels hurt. He's feeling the effect of a long stay in zero gravity, which weakens muscles, bones and immune systems. It takes weeks to fully recover.

Thomas, 46, was the last of seven Americans to live aboard Mir. He returned to Earth on June 12.