Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: One last time: Discovery back after final voyage

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One last time: Discovery back after final voyage

By Mark Carreau, Aviation Week, Huston
Shuttle Discovery returned from for the final time on March 9, rolling onto the runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., where the 27-year-old spacecraft and her six astronauts received a spirited homecoming.
The fleet-leading orbiter touched down on Runway 15 under mostly sunny skies at 11:57 a.m. EST, ending her 39th trip to space with just over 148.2 million mi. on her odometer and an accumulated 365 days in orbit.
The successful 13-day flight leaves just one and possibly two more missions before the three-decade old shuttle program ends. Discovery’s strong performance, with only a small handful of in-flight anomalies that did not prevent two productive one-day mission extensions, is raising similar expectations for the STS-134 and STS-135 missions, which would send Endeavour and Atlantis into orbit before retirement.
“We need to keep the focus,” Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations, told a post-landing briefing. “We need to keep the focus on those flights, stay diligent and work those flights just as hard as we did this flight.”
Over a 13-day mission, Discovery commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe, Mike Barratt, Nicole Stott, Al Drew and Steve Bowen equipped the International Space Station with the U.S. segment’s last habitable compartment, the Permanent Multipurpose Module, and an external platform for the stowage of spare parts. Discovery’s STS-133 mission delivered five tons of internal cargo, including research equipment. The science gear included Robonaut 2, a joint project between NASA and General Motors to investigate safe human/machine interactions in weightlessness.

Full report in Aviation Week here

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