As he exits the Crew Hatch Access Vehicle, STS-103 Commander Curtis L. Brown Jr. is greeted with a handshake by Joseph Rothenberg, associate administrator, Office of Space Flight. Descending the stairs behind Brown are (left to right) Mission Specialists C. Michael Foale (Ph.D.) and John M. Grunsfeld (Ph.D.) and Pilot Scott J. Kelly. At right, applauding the astronauts return are Earle Huckins, deputy associate administrator, Office of Space Science, and Roy Bridges, director, Kennedy Space Center. Others in the crew (not shown) are Mission Specialists Steven L. Smith, and Jean-Francois Clervoy of France and Claude Nicollier of Switzerland, who are with the European Space Agency. The crew of seven completed a successful eight-day mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope, spending 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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