NASA: Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth safely, ends last mission

By on Mar 10, 2011 in Astronomy, Science, United States Comments

NASA’s space shuttle Discovery and its six-astronaut crew headed by Commander Steve Lindsey returned back to Earth, as its final mission in space has ended.

NASA Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133
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According to NASA, space shuttle Discovery STS-133 landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, at 11:57 a.m. (EST).

Discovery is an amazing spacecraft and she has served her country well,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was quoted as saying, as Discovery STS-133 ended a 13-day journey in space with a total of 39 successful missions.

“The success of this mission and those that came before it is a testament to the diligence and determination of everyone who has worked on Discovery and the Space Shuttle Program, over these many years.” Mr. Bolden added.

But while NASA is celebrating its numerous achievements through Discovery, Mr. Bolden said he is looking forward to future missions in space with the new era of space flights.

Discovery, dubbed as the busiest space shuttle traveled 148,221,675 miles, had 5,830 orbits of Earth, and spent 365 days in space, with 27 years in service since its first flight back in 1984.

Along with Commander Steve Lindsey are Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Steve Bowen, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott, who were earlier serenaded by rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters, which served as a tribute to them.

As reported earlier, Discovery STS-133 delivered the Pressurized Multipurpose Module (PMM), which can host experiments in fluid physics, biology, materials science, biotechnology and other related areas.

In addition, Discovery STS-133 carried Robonaut 2 (R2), the first human-like robot sent to space and will be a permanent resident of the International Space Station.

Meanwhile, NASA also announced that there will be a welcome ceremony for the astronauts of Discovery, which will be held on Thursday, March 10, at 4 p.m (CST), at the Ellington Field’s NASA Hangar 276 in Houston, where the public is being invited.

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