Last Flight from Earth

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After 27 years and 39 flights, Discovery's wheels rolled to a stop for the very last time under the warm sun at the Florida spaceport's Shuttle Landing Facility. Discovery was "a perfect vehicle from start to finish on her final flight," the mission's commander Steven Lindsey radioed Mission Control after landing the shuttle smoothly despite windy conditions.

That was a great landing in tough conditions and it was an awesome docked mission that you all had," Mission Control told the crew, adding that the mission's 13 days boosted Discovery to a full year of cumulative time in space.

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So, job well done. As the shuttle's six-astronaut crew rightly predicted, the air at the landing site was tinged with a mixture of celebration and sadness. I think when we walk away from her on the runway, there's going to be tears in my eyes. I worked with her at KSC and the chance to fly her has just been a real, real privilege. The next mission for Discovery will never leave Earth.

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Discovery is the first of NASA's space shuttles to be retired, but all three will eventually end up on display in a museum somewhere in the country. An intense competition among 29 different institutions has been under way for the limited number of shuttles. Their flights, though, were relatively brief.

The Last Flight

Alan Shepard, who made the U. Before NASA's Atlas 9 mission, the longest amount of time an American had spent in space had been a whopping 9 hours and 13 minutes -- a record set by Wally Schirra, who made six orbits of Earth for the Mercury program in October of And then Cooper, the seventh member of the " Original Seven ," came along. Gordo, for his part, spent a total of one day, 10 hours, 19 minutes, and 49 seconds in space, making 22 full orbits of the planet before splashing down in the Pacific on May 16, His flight overall took 34 hours.

Over the course of his long voyage, Cooper had a dinner of " powdered roast beef mush " washed down with water. He captured mesmerizing pictures of the Earth below. He became the first American to sleep in space. The story doesn't end there, though: Cooper also ran into some trouble. On his 19th orbit, the solo astronaut encountered a problem with the indicator light on the craft he named himself , Faith 7. On the 20th, he lost his attitude readings. On the 21st, a short-circuit occurred, leaving the tiny craft's automatic stabilization and control systems without electrical power.

Suddenly, the crackling radio connecting Gordo to Earth became even more crucial than it had been before.

Soyuz undocking, reentry and landing explained

John Glenn, aboard a ship in Japan at the time, communicated with Cooper as he swept around the planet, helping the solo space traveler to revise the checklist NASA had prepared for his entry back to Earth. Thank you for taking your time to send in your valued opinion to Science X editors.

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Every Flight is a Mission to Planet Earth

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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa speaks after SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk announced him as the person who would be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, Monday, Sept. SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk, left, shakes hands with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, right, after announcing him as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, Monday, Sept.

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Last Flight from Earth Last Flight from Earth
Last Flight from Earth Last Flight from Earth
Last Flight from Earth Last Flight from Earth
Last Flight from Earth Last Flight from Earth
Last Flight from Earth Last Flight from Earth
Last Flight from Earth Last Flight from Earth
Last Flight from Earth Last Flight from Earth
Last Flight from Earth Last Flight from Earth

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