An Iowa native has piloted the space shuttle Discovery safely home after nearly two weeks in orbit. Liftoff was 13 days and 21 hours before this morning’s landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The so-called “Return to Flight” mission went smoothly, despite a few shake-ups in the schedule. Burlington native Jim Kelly not only flew the shuttle, he piloted the robot arm during three spacewalks. During one such maneuver, the crew demonstrated new methods to inspect and repair the shuttle in orbit, and removed gap fillers from the heat shield that could have caused a problem during reentry. Discovery landed at 7:12 this morning, the first flight of a shuttle since Columbia and her crew of seven were lost two and a half years ago.
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