Space Shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center

by Kristen Dahlgren
NBC News

After 15 days in space, Shuttle Discovery is back home.

Out of the clear blue Florida skies Discovery glided back to Earth.

Commander Pam Melroy had Kennedy Space Center in her sights as the shuttle touched down.

It was a smooth landing after 15 days that were not without ups and downs and some unprecedented challenges.

Spacewalker Scott Parazynski was out as far as he could go to repair a tear on one of the space station's solar arrays.

"If it had been any further away, it would have been a plan b, or c, or d," Parazynski said.

It was a risky job that had the astronaut dangerously close to the high voltage.

Among the crews' other accomplishments was carrying a school bus sized addition to the space station where European and Japanese labs will eventually dock.

They left behind astronaut Dan Tani who will spend the next month on the space station and carried Clay Anderson back to earth after his five month stint in space.

"I enjoyed my time up there immensely, and it's kind of a bitter sweet time for me to come home," Anderson said.

The landing took Discovery over 12 states and left the International Space Station ready to grow.

Work will continue on board the International Space Station to get it ready for the next shuttle mission, and NASA is not wasting any time.

Atlantis will roll out to the launch pad on Saturday.

It is scheduled to launch in early December.