Monday, July 17, 2006

Discovery Back On Earth

With continued violence in the Middle East, that changes minute by minute, it was a huge relief to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery successfully land back on Earth.

Officials had been concerned about rain showers and clouds north of the landing site and did not make the decision to land until about 10 minutes before Discovery was scheduled to fire its engines and begin its return to Earth. Such concern with the weather also prompted Discovery to use a different runway because of a last-minute change in the weather.

The landing comes after a successful 13-day mission to the international space station where the Discovery astronauts delivered supplies, dropped off German astronaut Thomas Reiter at the station and performed three spacewalks to conduct maintenance on the station's mobile transporter and to test shuttle tile repair techniques. For NASA, a collective sigh of relief, as too for the rest of us watching.

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