Shuttle Lands Safely

AUGUST 9, 2005 - Posted at 7:39 a.m. CDT

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE - Discovery and its crew are safely on Earth after touching down before dawn in California.

The landing ends the first mission after space shuttle Columbia ripped apart during re-entry in February 2003.

Bad weather blocked two opportunities to land in Florida, so NASA officials ordered the shuttle to land at Edwards Air Force Base.

NASA says it was the 50th landing at the base in the Mojave Desert.

Once the shuttle came to a stop, Mission Control said "Congratulations on a truly spectacular test flight."  Commander Eileen Collins replied, "We're happy to be back."

Astronauts carried out repairs on their spacecraft while in orbit.  They also delivered supplies to and worked on the International Space Station.

Discovery took off July 26 and orbited the Earth 219 times.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)