Source AP ©

Space shuttle Discovery makes successful landing

Discovery came back home to Earth thus concluding a 15-day space station build and repair mission.

The space shuttle touched down just after 1 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), after safely crossing the continent in the first coast-to-coast re-entry since the Columbia disaster almost five years ago.

Commander Pamela Melroy was greeted by crisp fall weather as she brought Discovery down on the runway.

The seven shuttle astronauts and three residents of the international space station teamed up during the docked mission to save a mangled solar wing. It was one of the most difficult and dangerous repairs ever attempted in orbit, but the future of the space station was riding on it and Scott Parazynski pulled it off in a single spacewalk.

On its way home, Discovery crossed over Canada's British Columbia and made a diagonal descent over Montana, Wyoming, the Great Plains, the Deep South and, finally, down into Florida. NASA opted for the more populous route to avoid a riskier landing in darkness, and to give the crew some extra rest after such a long and strenuous flight.

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