Thursday, February 24, 2011
Discovery has gone into the black for her 39th voyage, more than any other shuttle in the fleet! Breathtaking as always, and massive amounts people showed up at the Cape to see our Orbiter Fleet Leader launch for the final time!
No major technical issues, small chance of rain (which never happened), and a pretty uneventful day. Hard to believe this launch was scrubbed four times over a period of five months before this one finally happened!
But happen it did, and launches never disappoint. After this last trip, NASA has offered Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum for preservation. Discovery will replace Space Shuttle Enterprise in the Smithsonian's display at the Udvar-Hazy Center. And she has definitely earned a relaxing retirement!
Shuttle Discovery's maiden flight was STS-41-D in August of 1984, which launched two communications satellites. Over her entire career, she would release 31 total.
Of her 39 flights, she has flown to the Mir Space Station twice, and to the ISS 13 times, delivering trusses, supplies, and two major modules: Kibo and Harmony.
Discovery launched the Hubble Space Telescope on mission STS-31, and returned twice on later servicing missions.
Many flew on Discovery two times (Covey, Blaha, Hammond, Collins, Bolden, Barry, Brown, Parazynski, Wakata) but Astronaut Michael Coats is the only one to have made 3 trips on this orbiter.
Overall, Discovery has now carried 246 crew members, including the very first Russian cosmonaut launched in an American spacecraft, Sergei Krikalev on STS-60 in 1994.
She has spent 351 days in orbit and made 5,628 orbits around planet Earth.
Shuttle Discovery flew the 100th Shuttle Mission in the year 2000... and I'm happy to say, I got to see this one launch personally! What a blast. Literally.
Posted by PillowNaut at 12:00 PM