Space Shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven returned to Earth on Saturday after capping a successful expansion job at the international space station, which is now more spacious and robust thanks to a new billion-dollar Japanese science lab.
The shuttle swooped through a slightly cloudy sky and landed at 1515 GMT, under the control of commander Mark Kelly.
Discovery’s mission spanned 14 days, 217 orbits and 9.17 million kilometres, and was described by NASA as being about as smooth as it gets.
Kelly and his crew accomplished everything they set out to do in orbit. They delivered and installed Japan’s Kibo lab, now the space station’s biggest room and most sophisticated science workshop, and dropped off a new pump that the two Russians on board used to fix their toilet.