Space Shuttle, STS-121 Returns SAFELY!

UPDATE: The Shuttle Landed Safely STS-121 and our astronauts are safely home! 

From contributor Aknot in Florida:

I had the TV on to watch the Shuttle land and heard that they changed runways. It was arriving from the south over the Yucatan and Cuba. I ran outside in time to hear the double sonic-boom. Pretty impressive living in Tampa and hearing the sonic booms for the first time. Three launches viewed (one night-time), double sonic boom, and I saw the Shuttle/747 combo flying overhead while enjoying a day at Epcot.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Space shuttle Discovery and its crew of six returned to Earth through overcast skies Monday, ending a successful mission that put NASA back in the space station construction business.

Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center at 9:14 a.m. in only the second shuttle flight since the 2003 Columbia disaster.

“Welcome back Discovery and congratulations on a great mission,” Mission Control told shuttle commander Steven Lindsey after Discovery rolled to a stop.

Earlier: 

The Space Shuttle took the first window of opportunity and fired a burn to de-orbit about fifty minutes ago. STS-121 is on a re-entry path to Florida and Kennedy Space Center atd the Cape, and should touch down about 8:16 CDT.

“Is the vehicle cleared for entry?” Steve Lindsey, Discovery’s commander asked after hearing the news.

“That’s affirm. I’m being told I can use that word. You are cleared for entry,” astronaut Steve Frick in Mission Control radioed back.

NASA managers were keeping an eye on the weather as showers threatened to come within 30 miles of the Kennedy Space Center’s 15,000-foot runway on Monday morning.

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Wish them both luck at NASA mission control, and welcome the astronauts home!