The Space Shuttle Discovery was the third of the five shuttles to be built by NASA. Discovery was the third shuttle after the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Space Shuttle Challenger.
The Service of Discovery
The Space Shuttle Discovery flew it’s first mission from 30th August to 5th September 1984 and was in use for over 27 years. It landed 39 times and gathered more spaceflights than any other spacecraft to date and accumulated a total number of days in space that adds up to almost a year.
It’s final mission launched on 24th February 2011 came to an end on 9th March 2011 when Discovery touched down at the Kennedy Space Center.
Discovery was the Space Shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope and was the first space shuttle to be retired.
Discovery, like the other Space Shuttles, was named after several ships of exploration. The ships are thought to include the HMS Discovery captained by Captain James Cook, Henry Hudson’s Discovery, the British Arctic Expedition ship, HMS Discovery, and the RSS Discovery, which led the 1901-1904 Discovery Expedition to the Antarctica.
Decommission and Display
NASA donated the Space Shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum so that it could be preserved and displayed for the public to visit. It took a month to decontaminate the space shuttle and the Space Shuttle Discovery replaced the Enterprise at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. It arrived at the center and went on display on 19th April 2012.
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