Before space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 crew members departed NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for their home base at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, they gathered in Kennedy's TV Auditorium to briefly answer questions from the media.
STS-133 Commander Steve Lindsey was first to say, "It was a great day to come back and land in Florida, we're happy to bring Discovery home."
When asked how emotional the landing was, Lindsey said, "As hard as it was to leave the flight deck when we were all done -- at least for me it was -- we were really focused today on bringing it (the shuttle) home safe. We were really working hard the whole mission and didn't have a whole lot of time to reflect about that."
"I did notice when I was on the ramp and walking around afterward as the minutes passed I kind of got more and more sad looking at the vehicle and how healthy it is and wonderful it performed, not just on this flight but the other two flights that I flew on, as well as every other flight," Lindsey continued. "It kind of got sadder for me as the minutes rolled past."
Mission Specialist Steve Bowen, who replaced Tim Kopra on the mission after a bicycle accident kept him earthbound, said Kopra was with them not only in spirit but in constant contact via the Mission Control Center in Houston.
"He actually helped us through the EVA's (extravehicular activities, or spacewalks) from the ground, which I greatly appreciated," said Bowen. "Just having him in mission control to be able to question things and know that if I wasn't doing something quite right, he was going to step in and help me out."
The crew of Discovery's STS-133 mission, the final flight for NASA's oldest active shuttle, will be honored at a welcome ceremony tomorrow at Ellington Field near Houston.
Meanwhile, space shuttle Endeavour's move, or "rollout" to Launch Pad 39A has been delayed for at least 24 hours, due to predictions of unfavorable weather. Managers will meet Thursday morning to reassess weather conditions for the next rollout attempt.
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