Video in the News: Shuttle Mission Accomplished

Email to a Friend

Space shuttle Discovery made a smooth landing early this morning, ending a 14-day mission highlighted by a dramatic spacewalk to repair minor, but potentially grave, flaws in the spacecraft's protective heat shielding. This video documents some moments of the historic flight. Read more details about the mission below the video player.

August 9, 2005—The return of Discovery, originally scheduled to land yesterday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, was delayed because of poor weather. Continued thunderstorms this morning prompted NASA to divert the shuttle to the Edwards Air Force Base in California.

"Congratulations on a truly spectacular test flight," Mission Control radioed the seven-member crew as Discovery rolled to a stop this morning in the predawn darkness in the Mojave Desert. "Welcome home, friends."

Discovery was the first shuttle to return to orbit after Columbia broke apart during reentry in 2003, killing its entire crew and casting doubt on the future of manned space flight.

The Discovery crew spent nine days on the space station fixing equipment, restocking supplies, and hauling away two and a half years' worth of trash. The crew also conducted a number of test maneuvers while in orbit to evaluate new safety protocols, including spinning the shuttle end over end. This "backflip" allowed the space station occupants to photograph all sides of the craft and report any signs of damage.

—Victoria Gilman

Discovery Lands Safely, But Future Flights Are Uncertain

Space Shuttle Returns to Flight With Discovery

NEWS FEEDS    After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed. After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS



National Geographic Daily News To-Go

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.