Discovery's return was a triumph for NASA's Mission Control anxious to put memories of the Columbia tragedy behind it.
Seven astronauts, including the Indian-born Kalpana Chawla, died when the Columbia disintegrated on re-entry on February 1, 2003.
In a stunning near replay of Columbia's takeoff, Discovery's July 26 launch revealed debris falling off its fuel tank.
In space, Discovery's crew used cameras to scrutinise the shuttle's exterior for possible damage that could pose a threat during re-entry.
(left to right) Bill Parsons, Shuttle Program Manager, Mike Leinbach, Space Shuttle Launch Director, and Doug Lyons, Launch Manager, monitor Discovery's landing at the Launch Control Center, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, August 9.
Photograph: Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images
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