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Shuttle Discovery Lands Safely on Earth


The U.S. space shuttle Discovery has landed safely on Earth after a challenging two-week mission to build and repair components on the International Space Station.

The shuttle touched down Wednesday under clear skies at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

During the landing, the shuttle and its seven-member crew flew across the United States for the first time since 2003 when another shuttle, Columbia, disintegrated during reentry over the southern United States.

Discovery's crew spent 11 days at the International Space Station delivering and installing a new Italian-built module, and relocating a large solar panel array. The solar panel ripped as it was being unfolded, prompting a risky spacewalk to repair the damage.

The U.S. space agency, NASA, would have been forced to jettison the solar panel if the repair work had been unsuccessful, jeopardizing future additions to the space station. A shuttle mission to deliver a European-built laboratory is scheduled for next month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.