Discovery glided to a textbook landing under sunny skies at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Tuesday, completing a successful mission to the International Space Station. The crew spent more than two extra days in space because of unfavorable weather at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and at Edwards.
Discovery touched down at 4 p.m. CDT and rolled to a stop on Edward's concrete runway at 4:0l, for a mission elapsed time of 12 days, 21 hours and 43 minutes.
The astronauts fired Discovery's orbital maneuvering system engines for the deobrit burn at 2:52 p.m. as the spacecraft was over the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar and east of Kenya. Discovery felt the first traces of the atmosphere about 78 statute miles over the South Pacific, just south of the Tropic of Capricorn and east of Australia. The spacecraft passed south of Hawaii and crossed the California coast over Los Angeles. By the time it landed at Edwards, Discovery had traveled more than 5.3 million statute miles.
Commander Brian Duffy, Pilot Pam Melroy and Mission Specialists Leroy Chiao, Bill McArthur, Jeff Wisoff, Mike Lopez-Alegria and NASDA Astronaut Koichi Wakata spent 6 days, 21 hours and 23 minutes docked to the ISS. They left a larger and more complete station that they had helped prepare for the early November arrival of the first station crew. They added two major components, increasing the mass of the ISS by about 10 tons to a total of about 80 tons.
In addition to the total of 27 hours, 19 minutes spent outside the station on the four spacewalks, -- two each by Chiao, McArthur, Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria, the astronauts spent 27 hours and 4 minutes inside, completing connections with the new elements and transferring equipment and supplies for the Expedition 1 crew.
Discovery's crew is scheduled to spend Tuesday night at Edwards. They are to return to Houston on Wednesday, where the crew return ceremony will be held at Ellington Field's Hangar 990 at about 1:30 p.m.
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