The Space Shuttle Discovery drops out of the darkness onto runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility after traveling more than 3,267,000 miles on a successful eight-day mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronauts Curtis L. Brown Jr., Commander; Scott J. Kelly, Pilot; and Steven L. Smith, C. Michael Foale (Ph.D.), John M. Grunsfeld (Ph.D.), Claude Nicollier of Switzerland and Jean-Frangois Clervoy of France, all Mission Specialists, spent the Christmas holiday in space in order to accomplish their mission before the end of 1999. During the mission, Discovery's four space-walking astronauts, Smith, Foale, Grunsfeld and Nicollier, spent 24 hours and 33 minutes upgrading and refurbishing Hubble, making it more capable than ever to renew its observations of the universe. Mission objectives included replacing gyroscopes and an old computer, installing another solid state recorder, and replacing damaged insulation in the telescope. Hubble was released from the end of Discovery's robot arm on Christmas Day. Main gear touchdown was at 7:00:47 p.m. EST. Nose gear touchdown occurred at 7:00:58 EST and wheel stop at 7:01:34 EST. This was the 96th flight in the Space Shuttle program and the 27th for the orbiter Discovery. The landing was the 20th consecutive Shuttle landing in Florida and the 13th night landing in Shuttle program history. (Photo Release Date: 12/27/1999 )
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