STS-119 space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven touched down on Runway 15 at 3:14 p.m. EDT today at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, completing a 13-day journey of more than 5.3 million miles. According to the NASA web site, the mission was the 28th flight to the Space Station, the 36th flight of Discovery, and the 125th flight in the Space Shuttle Program, as well as the 70th landing at Kennedy.
That last number - 70th landing at Kennedy - kind of took me by surprise, even though I've been here for most of them. Two sonic booms give notice that a space shuttle is approaching Kennedy Space Center for a landing. Seventy times we've heard those booms - most of us Space Coast residents jump, then smile and say "welcome home" and go about our business. But we remember, too, the one time we didn't hear them, so it's always a relief to know that all is well and that NASA and its contractors have pulled off another success.
Job well done.
Photo credit: NASA/Troy CryderMarch 28, 2009