Discovery returns safely to Earth

The space shuttle touches down in Florida after a 13-day mission.

    Space Shuttle Discovery landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida [AP]


    The shuttle brought home Williams' predecessor aboard the space station, German astronaut Thomas Reiter, who felt the pull of gravity on Friday for the first time since July.

    It was not until about an hour before the landing that Nasa decided where to bring the shuttle home. There were showers over Florida, and crosswinds at the usual back-up landing site, Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert.

    Mission accomplished

    Ultimately, Nasa gave the go-ahead for a Florida landing when it appeared the rain would not reach Cape Canaveral. The shuttle came in through scattered clouds.

    Discovery's crew accomplished the main goals of the mission, which began on December 9 with a launch from Florida.

       

    The astronauts smoothly installed an $11 million, 2-ton truss segment on the space station's backbone and put in a new electrical system so laboratories built by Europe and Japan can be added to the station in the future.

       

    Nasa plans at least 13 more missions to complete the half-built, $100 billion space station before the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

    Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

    Improving eco-efficiency within a capitalist growth-oriented system will not save the environment.