Landing and End of Mission


This was given to the people attending the landing. In contrast to the
launch, which was attended by hundreds of thousands, the landing was
attended by only about three hundred people. Because of the line of trees
around the landing strip, we were the only ones to see Discovery touch down.

BOOM! BOOM!

With a percussion tribute worthy of the entry of a Space Shuttle, STS-95 announces itself to the witnesses at the landing site. Due to the stubby shape of the orbiter, when the Shuttle passes overhead at a speed greater than that of sound, you hear not one, but TWO loud impressive sonic booms. This mighty twin BOOM is the signature of the Shuttle's landing, and I have long wanted to hear it live, and in person.

Despite knowing the path that the Shuttle takes as it approaches the landing site, none of us could find it in the sky. Then suddenly it popped out of the blue, coming in very 'hot' and 'fast'. Screaming down like a brick. It then wooshed down the run way without any engines until it came to a gentle stop at the end.

We all cheered and applauded, not just for the crew, but mostly for ourselves. For we had made history. No one had ever flown a cryogenic refrigerator in space. The next generation of world-class deep-space viewing instruments will all use cryogenic temperatures, which have all previously been accomplished by using cryogenic ice. This places limits on the life of the instrument. Now with a cooler such as the one we flew, as long as you have power from your solar cells, you could make science observations. This is the dawning of a new era in space telescopes.

Landing of STS-95
The Shuttle, as it rolls down Runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center.
The landing was on Nov.7 at 12:04pm. Full Size. Other View.

The landing brings to an end an incredibly exciting personal journey. As this web page documents, it has been a great ride from the start of this project, thru building the Controller, travelling to Kennedy, meeting Senator Glenn, sitting in the Discovery pilot's flight chair, and seeing the impressive launch. On my commute from the condo every morning, my drive takes me over a bridge that connects Cape Canaveral to the Kennedy Space Center. When I go over this bridge I can see in the distance the huge Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the two launch pads over my right shoulder. I am reminded when this happens of what a privilege it has been to work here.

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