U.S. shuttle Discovery lands in Florida, concluding flying career

 U.S. space shuttle Discovery landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, ending its nearly 27-year flying career as the world's most- traveled spaceship.

According to NASA, Discovery touched down at 11:57 a.m. EST ( 1657 GMT) after a 13-day resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The photo provided by NASA shows U.S. space shuttle Discovery landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the United States, March 9, 2011. Discovery landed safely here on Wednesday, ending its nearly 27-year flying career as the world's most-traveled spaceship

"For the final time: wheels stop," Discovery's commander Steven Lindsey called out as the shuttle rolled to a full stop.

Discovery lifted off on Feb. 24 from the Kennedy Center and arrived at the space station on Feb. 26.

During the mission, the astronauts installed a spare closet module on the space station, completed some important repairs and delivered the first humanoid robot, though it will need more time to be assembled and made operational.

The 330-pound R2 consists of a head and a torso with two arms and two hands. Once it is unpacked -- likely several months after its arrival at the station -- it will initially be operated inside the Destiny laboratory for operational testing, but over time both its territory and its applications could expand.

Aboard the station, its primary job for now is teaching engineers how dexterous robots behave in space. However, the hope is that through upgrades and advancements, it could one day venture outside the station to help spacewalkers make repairs or additions to the station or perform scientific work.

xinhua

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