March 9, 2011
Discovery’s Final Touchdown A Success
Space shuttle Discovery completed its final voyage on Wednesday as it touched down in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center at 10:57:17 am CST.
The space shuttle completed its 13-day mission, adding to its total lifetime of 365 days in space.The shuttle has clocked 148 million miles and has flown 39 missions in over 27 years.
Commander Steven Lindsey wondered aloud whether Kennedy Space Center was the only landing site being considered. Mission Control said that it was, and the backup landing strip in California had not been activated.
"I know you're from California," Mission Control told Lindsey. "Is there something you were thinking?"
"No, just curious," Lindsey replied. "No, we want to bring Discovery back to Florida."
Discovery's final voyage allowed the crew to head back to the International Space Station (ISS), where they installed a new storage compartment and a humanoid robot.
The shuttle will be decommissioned over the next several months and sent to the Smithsonian Institution for display.
The final two shuttles, Endeavour and Atlantis, are scheduled to fly once more in the next few months.
NASA astronauts will be using Russian Soyuz capsules for rides to and from the ISS as they wait for commercial space flight to take over.
Image Caption: Space shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image credit: NASA TV
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