Press Release

Space Shuttle Discovery Makes Final Return to Earth Wednesday

By SpaceRef Editor
March 7, 2011
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Space Shuttle Discovery Makes Final Return to Earth Wednesday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to return to Earth for the final time on Wednesday, March 9, completing a 13-day mission to outfit the International Space Station. If Discovery lands Wednesday, it will have spent a total of 365 days in space and traveled more than 148 million miles during 39 flights. It launched on its first mission on Aug. 30, 1984.

Wednesday landing opportunities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are at 11:57 a.m. and 1:34 p.m. EST. NASA managers will evaluate weather conditions at Kennedy before permitting Discovery to land. If Discovery is unable to land Wednesday, additional opportunities are available on Thursday at Kennedy and at backup landing site Edwards Air Force Base in California. For recorded updates about landing, call 321-867-2525.

Approximately two hours after Discovery lands, NASA officials will hold a briefing to discuss the mission. The participants will be: – Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations – Mike Moses, space shuttle launch integration manager – Mike Leinbach, space shuttle launch director

After touchdown, the astronauts will undergo routine physical examinations and meet with their families. The crew may participate in a post-landing news conference about 6.5 hours after landing. The news events will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The Kennedy news center will open for landing activities at 8 a.m. Wednesday and remain open until 11 p.m. because of shuttle Endeavour’s 8 p.m. rollout to Launch Pad 39A. Endeavour is targeted to launch April 19 on the STS-134 mission to the space station.

The STS-133 media badges are in effect through landing. The media accreditation building on State Road 3 will be open from 7 to 10 a.m. Wednesday. The last bus will depart from the news center for the Shuttle Landing Facility one hour before landing.

If the shuttle landing is diverted to Edwards after Wednesday, news media should call the public affairs office at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at 661-276-3449. Dryden has limited facilities available for previously accredited journalists.

The NASA News Twitter feed is updated throughout the shuttle mission and landing. To follow, visit:

For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:  

For the latest information about the STS-133 mission and accomplishments, visit:

For more information about the space station and its crew, visit:  

SpaceRef staff editor.