Space shuttle lands in California

By MATTHEW FORDAHL

Associated Press

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Space shuttle Discovery and its seven astronauts landed in California’s Mojave Desert on today after dangerously high wind prevented a touchdown in Florida for the third day in a row.

The shuttle swooped through a clear sky and touched down on the runway at Edwards Air Force Base about 2 p.m. PDT, ending a 13-day flight during which the astronauts got the international space station ready for the arrival of its first full-time residents next week.

It was the 100th space shuttle flight for NASA and the first time in 4 1/2years that a shuttle was detoured to California. The shuttle zoomed across the Pacific and right over Los Angeles, then northward into Edwards on the final approach.

“Welcome back to Earth after a super successful mission,” Mission Control said after Discovery rolled to a safe stop.

“Great to be back,” replied commander Brian Duffy.

Gusts of close to 30 mph forced NASA to pass up a landing attempt at Cape Canaveral, Fla., earlier in the day. The wind also kept the shuttle from landing in Florida on Sunday and Monday, while rain clouds at Edwards on Monday scuttled landing plans there.

To the astronauts’ relief, the weather was ideal at Edwards today.

“After a rough couple days of weather, Edwards is giving you the best it has to offer,” Mission Control said.

During their flight, Duffy and his crew installed two new segments on the outside of the space station and also spruced up the inside for the three men who will be moving in for four months. They conducted four spacewalks on four consecutive days, an exceptional – and exhausting – amount of work.

The astronauts toiled from morning to night, from the time they rocketed into orbit on Oct. 11 until their departure from the space station on Friday. A broken antenna and a short circuit made their work even more difficult.

Now the spotlight shifts to Russia and Kazakstan.

Astronaut Bill Shepherd and two cosmonauts are scheduled to lift off aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakstan on Oct. 31. They will arrive at the 240-mile-high space station two days later.

The next shuttle flight is a trip to the space station by Endeavour in early December, to carry up giant solar panels. Discovery, meanwhile, is supposed to return to the space station in February, to pick up Shepherd and his crew and drop off their replacements.

That retrieval mission may be delayed, however, because of the landing in California. The ferry trip to Florida takes about one week and costs nearly $1 million.

Space shuttles have landed 45 times before at Edwards. Until the early 1990s, it served as NASA’s main touchdown site.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Marysville
1 pedestrian dead after car crash on I-5 south of Marysville

Around 5 p.m., a car crashed into a pedestrian along I-5. Investigators believed a man had parked on the shoulder to refuel.

FILE - A person walks near the Legislative Building, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington's redistricting commission failed to meet its deadline and on Tuesday, Nov. 16, kicked the job of creating new political maps to the state Supreme Court. The bipartisan commission had a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Monday to approve new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts following the 2020 census. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Do Snohomish County lawmakers want a 2020 presidential rematch?

The Herald contacted seven Republican legislators representing parts of Snohomish County about their primary choice. Five did not respond.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

Photo provided by 
Economic Alliance
Economic Alliance presented one of the Washington Rising Stem Awards to Katie Larios, a senior at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Mountlake Terrace High School senior wins state STEM award

Katie Larios was honored at an Economic Alliance gathering: “A champion for other young women of color in STEM.”

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Firefighters respond to a report of a smoke alarm going off in the 100 block of West Main Street in Monroe on Monday morning. Fire officials confirmed the fire was coming from living quarters above Good Brewing Co. (Provided by Snohomish County Regional Fire and Rescue).
Fire damages apartment above Monroe brewery

Good Brewing Co. on West Main Street was listed as permanently closed Monday.

Tom Ceurvorst picks up his food order at Big Chicken on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free ice cream Wednesday for Shaq’s birthday at Big Chicken in Mukilteo

Sign a card for the NBA Hall of Famer and restaurant founder. Shaquille O’Neal turns 52 on March 6.

Flowers for slain trooper Chris Gadd begin to collect outside Washington State Patrol District 7 Headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Police: Lynnwood man consumed cannabis, beer before crash into trooper

Trooper Chris Gadd, 27, was stopped along I-5 when he was hit and killed early Saturday. Troopers suspect Raul Benitez Santana was impaired.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.