September 13, 2011
As the sun sets, Discovery's main landing gear touches down on Runway 15 at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility, concluding mission STS-116. Aboard are astronauts Mark L. Polansky, commander; William A. Oefelein, pilot; and Robert L. Curbeam Jr., Joan E. Higginbotham, Nicholas J.M. Patrick and European Space Agency astronauts Christer Fuglesang and Thomas Reiter--all mission specialists. Reiter is returning from a six-month stay on the International Space Station. During the mission, three spacewalks attached the P5 integrated truss structure to the station, and completed the rewiring of the orbiting laboratory's power system. A contingency spacewalk was added to retract a stubborn solar array. Main gear touchdown was at 5:32 p.m. (EST). Nose gear touchdown was at 5:32:12 p.m. and wheel stop was at 5:32:52 p.m. At touchdown -- nominally about 2,500 ft. beyond the runway threshold -- the orbiter is traveling at a speed ranging from 213 to 226 mph. Discovery traveled 5,330,000 miles, landing on orbit 204. Mission elapsed time was 12 days, 20 hours, 44 minutes and 16 seconds. This is the 64th landing at KSC.
Topics: STS-116, Christer Fuglesang, Spaceflight, Robert Curbeam, Mark L. Polansky, Joan Higginbotham, Thomas Reiter, Extra-vehicular activity