The long wait, cold weather, and even a 24-hour delay has ended when the Space Shuttle Discovery and seven astronauts aboard glided for a picture-perfect landing in a Tuesday morning at Kennedy Space Center.
“What a great mission. We enjoyed it… We’re glad that the International Space Station is stocked up,”commander Alan Poindexter said.
The Discovery returned from a 15-day mission that included 7-tons of equipment along with it to the International Space Center.
The crew has been set to land on Monday but rain and very cloudy skies hindered them from doing so. Their homecoming was almost spoiled driving them to abort the landing attempt.But then when the clouds broke on a Tuesday morning, Discovery had the chance begin an hour long plunge that dropped its speed from 17,500 mph to 225 mph at touchdown on KSC’s runway 33.
The shuttle left across the America on its trip back to the Cape. It entered the continent near Vancouver, then flew over southeast across northeast Washington, Montana, central Wyoming, northeast Colorado, southwest Kansas and Oklahoma. It passed north of Little Rock, Ark.; over Oxford, Miss; near Montgomery, Ala.; south of Columbus, Ga. and, finally, over Florida east of Gainesville.
The crew,which marked the first time four women have been space in one time included pilot Jim Dutton and mission specialists Rick Mastracchio, Clay Anderson, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki.
There are only three remaining shuttle flights before the space shuttle fleet’s retirement.