Encyclopedia Astronautica
2006.07.17 - STS-121 MCC Status Report #26

A smooth landing by the Space Shuttle Discovery at the Kennedy Space Center this morning completed the second return to flight test mission and set the stage to resume assembly of the International Space Station later this summer.

Discovery and its crew of six astronauts touched down on runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 8:15 a.m. CDT, completing 12 days, 18 hours and 38 minutes in space covering 5.3 million miles. They delivered European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter to the station to join Expedition 13 and completed three spacewalks, one to restore the station’s rail car to full capability and two to develop shuttle repair techniques.

The crew was awakened at 12:08 a.m. CDT today with “The Astronaut” by Something Corporate, played for Commander Steve Lindsey as he prepared to complete his fourth shuttle flight. Returning to Earth aboard Discovery with Lindsey were Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Mike Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson and Piers Sellers.

Discovery’s deorbit engines were fired for three minutes at 7:07 a.m. CDT above the Indian Ocean to begin the descent. The shuttle flew above Guatemala and Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico and the southwest Florida coast on the way to landing.

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