Discovery Touches Down Safely

Marathon shuttle mission ends with touchdown in Florida at 1:01pm EST
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2007 12:14 PM CST
Space Shuttle Discovery does a fly around of the international space station Monday, Nov. 5, 2007. The Discovery was to return to Earth today. (AP Photo/NASA)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Pam Melroy became only the second woman to safely land a space shuttle as the Discovery touched down at Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 1:01pm today. The touchdown capped a blistering 15-day mission during which the shuttle crew attached a new room to the international space station and repaired damaged solar panels, CNN reports.

The crew's success on those critical repairs means that the European-made Columbus laboratory, the next step in the station's development, can be launched on schedule. Discovery—carrying home astronaut Clayton Anderson after 152 days aboard the space station—followed a landing route that sent it hurtling over the continental US for the first time since the Columbia disaster in 2003.