Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Saturday, 14 June 2008 16:19 UK

Shuttle lands despite losing clip


Discovery landed safely in Florida after its mission to the ISS

The American space shuttle Discovery has successfully touched down at the Kennedy Space Center in the US state of Florida.

Nasa officials gave the go-ahead for the landing, saying it should not be affected by the earlier loss of a metal clip from Discovery's rudder.

The shuttle delivered a Japanese laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS) on its 14-day mission.

The seven crew earlier cheered after getting the green light to land.

Commander Mark Kelly and co-pilot Kenneth Ham had fired the braking rockets to send the craft streaking home.

'My favourite Earthling'

On Friday, Discovery's astronauts spotted something floating away from their spaceship that turned out to be a little metal clip which broke off the rudder.

But engineers decided within four hours that its absence posed no danger for re-entry.

During the shuttle's mission, it installed a $1bn Japanese-built laboratory, which is now the space station's biggest room and most sophisticated science workshop.

They also dropped off a new pump that the two Russians on board used to fix their toilet.

And the space station welcomed a new American resident, who took the place of astronaut Garrett Reisman, returning home after 95 days in space.

Mr Reisman's wife, Simone Francis, was waiting at the Kennedy Space Center.

Over the past week, Mr Reisman described how much he missed her, calling her "my favourite Earthling".

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