Saturday, March 28, 2009
The space shuttle Discovery dropped out of earth orbit today and glided to a beautiful landing here at the Kennedy Space Center following 13 days in space - of which eight of those were docked with the international space station.
Discovery dropped through cloud layers and flew through 20 mph winds as she cut a path across central Florida beginning south of Tampa Bay at 3:05 pm ET. Nine minutes later - at 3:13:17 pm ET - Discovery's main gear slammed runway 15 moving at about 220 mph. A drag chute then was deployed, slowing the orbiter down and putting less stress on her brakes as she slowed to land the nose gear seconds later.
"Welcome home Discovery after a great mission to bring the international space station to full power," stated Mission Control after Discovery came to a stop. "A special welcome home to Sandy after living and working on board ISS as a member of Expedition 18 and to the entire crew of STS-119. Great job everybody."
Wheels stop occurred at 2:14:45 pm, at a mission elapsed time of 12 days, 19 hours, 39 minutes and 1 second. Discovery traveled 5.3 million miles on her 36th voyage into space.