On Saturday, 12th September, Space Shuttle Discovery landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing a successful, 14 day mission. On Friday, the de-orbit burn which brings the Space Shuttle onto its re-entry trajectory was delayed by one day because of the poor weather conditions at the preferred landing site, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It was not only the return from space of European astronaut Christer Fuglesang but also of the experiment platform EuTEF. In February 2008, EuTEF was launched together with the European Columbus module to the International Space Station (ISS). In a cooperative effort between the ERASMUS Center in Noordwijk (Netherlands) and the Columbus Control Center in Munich, the experiment platform could be successfully operated as an external attachment to the Columbus module for over one and a half years. EuTEF was home to nine experiments, one of which EXPOSE was managed by DLR’s Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC) in Cologne.
German Zoeschinger, responsible Flight Director, and Katja Leuoth, in charge as Payload Coordinator, were both pleased with the flawless return of the experiments. "Particularly the space walk, in which the astronauts detached EuTEF from Columbus and transferred it to Discovery’s cargo bay, was a very important phase for our control center" said Zoeschinger. "But everything went very smoothly, thanks to the good preparation".