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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -   Kicking up dust as it touches down on Runway 15 at NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility, the orbiter Discovery completes mission STS-121 to the International Space Station.  At touchdown -- nominally about 2,500 ft. beyond the runway threshold -- the orbiter is traveling at a speed ranging from 213 to 226 mph.  Discovery traveled  5.3 million miles, landing on orbit 202.  Mission elapsed time was 12 days, 18 hours, 37 minutes and 54 seconds.  Main gear touchdown occurred on time at 9:14:43 EDT.  Wheel stop was at 9:15:49 EDT.  The returning crew members aboard are Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Piers Sellers, Michael Fossum, Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson.  Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter, who launched with the crew on July 4, remained on the station to join the Expedition 13 crew there.  The landing is the 62nd at Kennedy Space Center and the 32nd for Discovery.  During the mission, the STS-121 crew tested new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, and delivered supplies and made repairs to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray & Tim Powers KSC-06pp1623

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - Kicking up dust as it touches down on Runway 15 at NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility, the orbiter Discovery completes mission STS-121 to the International Space Station. At touchdown -- nominally about 2,500 ft. beyond the runway threshold -- the orbiter is traveling at a speed ranging from 213 to 226 mph. Discovery traveled 5.3 million miles, landing on orbit 202. Mission elapsed time was 12 days, 18 hours, 37 minutes and 54 seconds. Main gear touchdown occurred on time at 9:14:43 EDT. Wheel stop was at 9:15:49 EDT. The returning crew members aboard are Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Piers Sellers, Michael Fossum, Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson. Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter, who launched with the crew on July 4, remained on the station to join the Expedition 13 crew there. The landing is the 62nd at Kennedy Space Center and the 32nd for Discovery. During the mission, the STS-121 crew tested new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, and delivered supplies and made repairs to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray & Tim Powers KSC-06pp1623

 
 
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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - Kicking up dust as it touches down on Runway 15 at NASA's Shuttle Landing Facility, the orbiter Discovery completes mission STS-121 to the International Space Station. At touchdown -- nominally about 2,500 ft. beyond the runway threshold -- the orbiter is traveling at a speed ranging from 213 to 226 mph. Discovery traveled 5.3 million miles, landing on orbit 202. Mission elapsed time was 12 days, 18 hours, 37 minutes and 54 seconds. Main gear touchdown occurred on time at 9:14:43 EDT. Wheel stop was at 9:15:49 EDT. The returning crew members aboard are Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Piers Sellers, Michael Fossum, Lisa Nowak and Stephanie Wilson. Mission Specialist Thomas Reiter, who launched with the crew on July 4, remained on the station to join the Expedition 13 crew there. The landing is the 62nd at Kennedy Space Center and the 32nd for Discovery. During the mission, the STS-121 crew tested new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, and delivered supplies and made repairs to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray & Tim Powers

The Space Shuttle program was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972. The Space Shuttle system—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank— carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). When its mission was complete, the orbiter would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a glider. Although the concept had been explored since the late 1960s, the program formally commenced in 1972 and was the focus of NASA's manned operations after the final Apollo and Skylab flights in the mid-1970s. It started with the launch of the first shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, on STS-1. and finished with its last mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.

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17/07/2006
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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