Photos: Discovery returns home
Shuttle touches down
Applause at NASA
NASA employees at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida applaud as the Discovery touches down at its alternative landing site across the country.
Stormy weather over Cape Canaveral (near Melbourne, Fla.) caused a one-day postponement of the shuttle's return to Earth.
The Discovery had been in space for nearly two weeks on a mission to the International Space Station. Here, the station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, appears to wave goodbye as the shuttle departs.
Taking out the garbage
The space station's robotic arm grips the Italian-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello to place it back in Discovery's cargo bay. New supplies had been taken to the station in the space crate and trash is being returned to Earth.
Discovery began the first leg of its return to Earth by separating from the International Space Station.
After observing a torn insulation blanket on Discovery, personnel at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., tested similar material to simulate what would happen during re-entry and determine whether space repairs were necessary. Wind tunnel tests predicted little additional damage.