Space shuttle Discovery lands in California

Space shuttle Discovery lands in California

The 5.53 p.m. (0053 GMT) landing at Edwards Air Force base in Southern California marked the end of the two-week mission that brought supplies and equipment to the International Space Station.

The touchdown was originally scheduled for Thursday night at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, but NASA had to cancel two provisional landing times. The shuttle also had to avoid a piece of space junk on its flight to Earth, the space agency said. In total, four landing times have been planned between Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

NASA generally tries to avoid landing at the site in the California desert because of the high transportation costs to bring the shuttle back to the Kennedy Space Centre. The shuttle brought long-term ISS crew member Tim Kopra back to Earth after 58 days in space, he was replaced by US astronaut Nicole Stott.

The crew of six US and a Swedish astronaut delivered to the ISS a new sleeping compartment and a treadmill named for television comedian Stephen Colbert, as well as two racks for scientific experiments and a freezer to store experiments set to be sent back to Earth.

One of the racks will be used to conduct research on metals, semiconductors, crystal, glass and other materials in microgravity. The other will be used to study liquids and gels in space. During three spacewalks, astronauts replaced an empty ammonia tank and made other repairs.