Space Shuttle Discovery

Last updated

STS-133 Space Shuttle Discovery after undocking 3 (cropped).jpg
Discovery in orbit in 2011, during STS-133
OV designation OV-103
CountryUnited States
Contract awardJanuary 29, 1979
Named after Discovery (1602),
HMS Discovery (1774),
HMS Discovery (1874),
RRS Discovery (1901),
USSC Discovery One
StatusRetired, on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia [1]
First flight STS-41-D
August 30, 1984 (1984-08-30) – September 5, 1984
Last flight STS-133
February 24, 2011 (2011-02-24) – March 9, 2011
No. of missions39
Crew members252 [2]
Time spent in space1 year (365 days), 22 hours, 39 minutes, 33 seconds
Distance travelled148,221,675 mi (238,539,663 km) [3]
Satellites deployed31 (including Hubble Space Telescope)
Mir dockings1 [3]
ISS dockings13 [3]
Space Shuttle Discovery at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Space Shuttle Discovery at Udvar-Hazy Center.jpg
Space Shuttle Discovery at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Discovery rollout ceremony in October 1983 Discovery rollout ceremony.jpg
Discovery rollout ceremony in October 1983

Space Shuttle Discovery (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-103) is one of the orbiters from NASA's Space Shuttle program and the third of five fully operational orbiters to be built. [4] Its first mission, STS-41-D, flew from August 30 to September 5, 1984. Over 27 years of service it launched and landed 39 times, gathering more spaceflights than any other spacecraft to date. The shuttle has three main components: the orbiter, a central fuel tank, and two rocket boosters. Nearly 25,000 heat resistant tiles cover the orbiter to protect it from high temperatures on re-entry. [5]

Each NASA space shuttle designation was composed of a prefix and suffix separated by a dash. The prefix for operational shuttles is OV, for Orbiter Vehicle.

Space Shuttle orbiter Reusable spacecraft component of the Space Shuttle system

The Space Shuttle orbiter is the spaceplane component of the Space Shuttle, a partially reusable orbital spacecraft system that was part of the Space Shuttle program. Operated by NASA, the U.S. space agency, this vehicle could carry astronauts and payloads into low Earth orbit, perform in-space operations, then re-enter the atmosphere and land as a glider, returning its crew and any on-board payload to the Earth.

NASA space-related agency of the United States government

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.


Discovery became the third operational orbiter to enter service, preceded by Columbia and Challenger . [6] It embarked on its last mission, STS-133, on February 24, 2011 and touched down for the final time at Kennedy Space Center on March 9, [7] having spent a cumulative total of almost a full year in space. Discovery performed both research and International Space Station (ISS) assembly missions. It also carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. Discovery was the first operational shuttle to be retired, followed by Endeavour and then Atlantis .

Space Shuttle <i>Columbia</i> Space shuttle orbiter

Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space-rated orbiter in NASA's Space Shuttle fleet. It launched for the first time on mission STS-1 on April 12, 1981, the first flight of the Space Shuttle program. Serving for over 22 years, it completed 27 missions before disintegrating during re-entry near the end of its 28th mission, STS-107 on February 1, 2003, resulting in the deaths of all seven crew members.

Space Shuttle <i>Challenger</i> Space shuttle orbiter

Space Shuttle Challenger was the second orbiter of NASA's space shuttle program to be put into service, after Columbia. Challenger was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division, in Downey, California. Its maiden flight, STS-6, began on April 4, 1983. The orbiter was launched and landed nine times before breaking apart 73 seconds into its tenth mission, STS-51-L, on January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members, including a civilian school teacher. It was the first of two shuttles to be destroyed in flight, the other being Columbia, in 2003. The accident led to a two-and-a-half-year grounding of the shuttle fleet; flights resumed in 1988, with STS-26 flown by Discovery. Challenger was replaced by Endeavour, which was built from structural spares ordered by NASA in the construction contracts for Discovery and Atlantis.

STS-133 human spaceflight

STS-133 was the 133rd mission in NASA's Space Shuttle program; during the mission, Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station. It was Discovery's 39th and final mission. The mission launched on 24 February 2011, and landed on 9 March 2011. The crew consisted of six American astronauts, all of whom had been on prior spaceflights, headed by Commander Steven Lindsey. The crew joined the long-duration six person crew of Expedition 26, who were already aboard the space station. About a month before lift-off, one of the original crew members, Tim Kopra, was injured in a bicycle accident. He was replaced by Stephen Bowen.


The name Discovery was chosen to carry on a tradition based on ships of exploration, [4] primarily HMS Discovery, [8] one of the ships commanded by Captain James Cook during his third and final major voyage from 1776 to 1779, and Henry Hudson's Discovery, [4] which was used in 1610–1611 to explore Hudson Bay and search for a Northwest Passage. Other ships bearing the name have included HMS Discovery [9] of the 1875–1876 British Arctic Expedition to the North Pole and RRS Discovery, which led the 1901–1904 "Discovery Expedition" to Antarctica. [10]

HMS <i>Discovery</i> (1774) 1774 consort ship of James Cooks third expedition

HMS Discovery was the consort ship of James Cook's third expedition to the Pacific Ocean in 1776–1780. Like Cook's other ships, Discovery was a Whitby-built collier originally named Diligence when she was built in 1774. Purchased in 1775, the vessel was measured at 299 tons burthen. Originally a brig, Cook had her changed to a full rigged ship. She was commanded by Charles Clerke, who had previously served on Cook's first two expeditions, and had a complement of 70. When Cook was killed in a skirmish with natives of Hawaii, Clerke transferred to the expedition's flagship HMS Resolution and John Gore assumed command of Discovery. She returned to Britain under the command of Lieutenant James King, arriving back on 4 October 1780.

James Cook 18th-century British explorer

Captain James Cook was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. He made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

Henry Hudson English explorer

Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator during the early 17th century, best known for his explorations of present-day Canada and parts of the northeastern United States.

Discovery launched the Hubble Space Telescope and conducted the second and third Hubble service missions. It also launched the Ulysses probe and three TDRS satellites. Twice Discovery was chosen as the "Return To Flight" Orbiter, first in 1988 after the loss of Challenger in 1986, and then again for the twin "Return To Flight" missions in July 2005 and July 2006 after the Columbia disaster in 2003. Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn, who was 77 at the time, flew with Discovery on STS-95 in 1998, making him the oldest person to go into space. [11]

Hubble Space Telescope Space telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and remains in operation. It was not the first space telescope, but it is one of the largest and most versatile and is well known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy. The Hubble telescope is named after astronomer Edwin Hubble and is one of NASA's Great Observatories, along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

STS-82 human spaceflight

STS-82 was the 22nd flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery and the 82nd mission of the Space Shuttle program. It was NASA's second mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope, during which Discovery's crew repaired and upgraded the telescope's scientific instruments, increasing its research capabilities and achieved the highest altitude ever attained by a STS Orbiter. Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 11 February 1997, returning to Earth on 21 February 1997 at Kennedy Space Center.

STS-103 human spaceflightת  Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission by Space Shuttle Discovery

STS-103 was a Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission by Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 19 December 1999 and returned on 27 December 1999.

Had plans to launch United States Department of Defense payloads from Vandenberg Air Force Base gone ahead, Discovery would have become the dedicated US Air Force shuttle. [12] Its first West Coast mission, STS-62-A, was scheduled for 1986, but canceled in the aftermath of Challenger.

United States Department of Defense United States federal executive department

The United States Department of Defense is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government concerned directly with national security and the United States Armed Forces. The department is the largest employer in the world, with nearly 1.3 million active duty servicemen and women as of 2016. Adding to its employees are over 826,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists from the four services, and over 732,000 civilians bringing the total to over 2.8 million employees. Headquartered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., the DoD's stated mission is to provide "the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security".

Vandenberg Air Force Base census-designated place in California, United States

Vandenberg Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base 9.2 miles (14.8 km) northwest of Lompoc, California. It is under the jurisdiction of the 30th Space Wing, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).

STS-62-A canceled space shuttle mission

STS-62-A was a planned Space Shuttle mission to deliver a reconnaissance payload into polar orbit. It was expected to use Discovery. It would have been the first manned launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and the first manned mission to go into polar orbit. The mission designation, 62-A, meant: 6=fiscal year 1986, 2=Vandenberg, and A=first flight in that fiscal year.

Discovery was retired after completing its final mission, STS 133 on March 9, 2011. The spacecraft is now on display in Virginia at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, an annex of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. [1]

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Aviation museum in Virginia, United States

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, also called the Udvar-Hazy Center, is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM)'s annex at Washington Dulles International Airport in the Chantilly area of Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. It holds numerous exhibits, including the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Enola Gay.

Smithsonian Institution Group of museums and research centers administered by the United States government

The Smithsonian Institution, also known simply as the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. It was founded on August 10, 1846, "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. It was originally organized as the "United States National Museum", but that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967.

National Air and Space Museum Aviation museum in Washington, D.C.

The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, also called the Air and Space Museum, is a museum in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and opened its main building on the National Mall near L'Enfant Plaza in 1976. In 2018, the museum saw approximately 6.2 million visitors, making it the fifth most visited museum in the world, and the second most visited museum in the United States. The museum contains the Apollo 11 command module, the Friendship 7 capsule which was flown by John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1 which broke the sound barrier, the model of the starship Enterprise used in the science fiction television show Star Trek: The Original Series, and the Wright brothers' airplane near the entrance.

Construction milestones

DateMilestone [10]
1979 January 29Contract Award to Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California
1979 August 27Start long lead fabrication of Crew Module
1980 June 20Start fabrication lower fuselage
1980 November 10Start structural assembly of aft-fuselage
1980 December 8Start initial system installation aft fuselage
1981 March 2Start fabrication/assembly of payload bay doors
1981 October 26Start initial system installation, crew module, Downey
1982 January 4Start initial system installation upper forward fuselage
1982 March 16Midfuselage on dock, Palmdale, California
1982 March 30 Elevons on dock, Palmdale
1982 April 30 Wings arrive at Palmdale from Grumman
1982 April 30Lower forward fuselage on dock, Palmdale
1982 July 16Upper forward fuselage on dock, Palmdale
1982 August 5 Vertical stabilizer on dock, Palmdale
1982 September 3Start of Final Assembly
1982 October 15Body flap on dock, Palmdale
1983 January 11Aft fuselage on dock, Palmdale
1983 February 25Complete final assembly and closeout installation, Palmdale
1983 February 28Start initial subsystems test, power-on, Palmdale
1983 May 13Complete initial subsystems testing
1983 July 26Complete subsystems testing
1983 August 12Completed Final Acceptance
1983 October 16Rollout from Palmdale
1983 November 5Overland transport from Palmdale to Edwards Air Force Base
1983 November 9Delivery to Kennedy Space Center
1984 June 2Flight Readiness Firing
1984 August 30First Flight (STS-41-D)

Upgrades and features

On the maiden voyage of Discovery: Judith Resnik, Henry Hartsfield, Michael L. Coats, Steven A. Hawley, Charles D. Walker, and Richard M. Mullane STS-41-D Crew Enjoying Space - GPN-2004-00024.jpg
On the maiden voyage of Discovery: Judith Resnik, Henry Hartsfield, Michael L. Coats, Steven A. Hawley, Charles D. Walker, and Richard M. Mullane
Discovery rocketing into space, just after booster separation. SRBsepfromDiscovery07042006.png
Discovery rocketing into space, just after booster separation.

Discovery weighed roughly 3600 kg (3.6t) less than Columbia when it was brought into service due to optimizations determined during the construction and testing of Enterprise, Columbia and Challenger. [11] Discovery weighs 6 pounds (2.7 kg) heavier than Atlantis and 363 pounds (165 kg) heavier than Endeavour . [2]

Part of the Discovery weight optimizations included the greater use of quilted AFRSI blankets rather than the white LRSI tiles on the fuselage, and the use of graphite epoxy instead of aluminum for the payload bay doors and some of the wing spars and beams. [13]

Upon its delivery to the Kennedy Space Center in 1983, Discovery was modified alongside Challenger to accommodate the liquid-fueled Centaur-G booster, which had been planned for use beginning in 1986 but was cancelled in the wake of the Challenger disaster. [14]

Beginning in late 1995, the orbiter underwent a nine-month Orbiter Maintenance Down Period (OMDP) in Palmdale, California. This included outfitting the vehicle with a 5th set of cryogenic tanks and an external airlock to support missions to the International Space Station. As with all the orbiters, it could be attached to the top of specialized aircraft and did so in June 1996 when it returned to the Kennedy Space Center, and later in April 2012 when sent to the Udvar-Hazy Center, riding piggy-back on a modified Boeing 747. [11]

After STS-105, Discovery became the first of the orbiter fleet to undergo Orbiter Major Modification (OMM) period at the Kennedy Space Center. Work began in September 2002 to prepare the vehicle for Return to Flight. The work included scheduled upgrades and additional safety modifications. [11]

Decommissioning and display

Discovery over Washington DC April 17 2012 National Mall last pass.jpg
Space Shuttle Discovery landing at Dulles.jpg
Discovery riding piggy-back on SCA N905NA on the last flyover of the National Mall at around 10:15 am EDT, during its 11:05 am landing at Dulles airport on April 17, 2012. [15]
Enterprise and Discovery.jpg
Space Shuttle Discovery on Display.jpg
Enterprise and Discovery exchanged and Discovery on display at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Discovery was decommissioned on March 9, 2011. [16] [17]

NASA offered Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum for public display and preservation, after a month-long decontamination process, [18] as part of the national collection. [19] [20] [21] Discovery replaced Enterprise in the Smithsonian's display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. [22] [23] [24] Discovery was transported to Washington Dulles International Airport on April 17, 2012, and was transferred to the Udvar-Hazy on April 19 where a welcome ceremony was held. Afterwards, at around 5:30 pm, Discovery was rolled to its "final wheels stop" in the Udvar Hazy Center. [25] [26]


Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) deployed STS-48 UARS deployment.jpg
Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) deployed

By its last mission, Discovery had flown 149 million miles (238 million km) in 39 missions, completed 5,830 orbits, and spent 365 days in orbit over 27 years. [27] Discovery flew more flights than any other Orbiter Shuttle, including four in 1985 alone. Discovery flew all three "return to flight" missions after the Challenger and Columbia disasters: STS-26 in 1988, STS-114 in 2005, and STS-121 in 2006. Discovery flew the ante-penultimate mission of the Space Shuttle program, STS-133, having launched on February 24, 2011. Endeavour flew STS-134 and Atlantis performed STS-135, NASA's last Space Shuttle mission. On February 24, 2011, Space Shuttle Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39-A to begin its final orbital flight. [28]

Flights listing

#DateDesignationNotesLength of journey
1August 30, 1984 STS-41-D First Discovery mission: Judith Resnik became second American woman in Space. Three communications satellites were put into orbit, including LEASAT F2.6 days, 00 hours,
56 minutes, 04 seconds
2November 8, 1984 STS-51-A Launched two and rescued two communications satellites including LEASAT F1.7 days, 23 hours,
44 minutes, 56 seconds
3January 24, 1985 STS-51-C Launched DOD Magnum ELINT satellite.3 days, 01 hours,
33 minutes, 23 seconds-
4April 12, 1985 STS-51-D Launched two communications satellites including LEASAT F3. Carried first incumbent United States member of Congress into space, Senator Jake Garn (RUtah)6 days, 23 hours,
55 minutes, 23 seconds
5June 17, 1985 STS-51-G Launched two communications satellites, Sultan Salman al-Saud becomes first Saudi Arabian in space.7 days, 01 hours,
38 minutes, 52 seconds
6August 27, 1985 STS-51-I Launched two communications satellites including LEASAT F4. Recovered, repaired, and redeployed LEASAT F3.7 days, 02 hours,
17 minutes, 42 seconds
7September 29, 1988 STS-26 Return to flight after Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, launched TDRS.4 days, 01 hours,
00 minutes, 11 seconds
8March 13, 1989 STS-29 Launched TDRS.4 days, 23 hours,
38 minutes, 52 seconds
9November 22, 1989 STS-33 Launched DOD Magnum ELINT satellite.5 days, 00 hours,
06 minutes, 49 seconds
10April 24, 1990 STS-31 Launch of Hubble Space Telescope (HST).5 days, 01 hours,
16 minutes, 06 seconds
11October 6, 1990 STS-41 Launch of Ulysses.4 days, 02 hours,
10 minutes, 04 seconds
12April 28, 1991 STS-39 Launched DOD Air Force Program-675 (AFP-675) satellite.8 days, 07 hours,
22 minutes, 23 seconds
13September 12, 1991 STS-48 Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS).5 days, 08 hours,
27 minutes, 38 seconds
14January 22, 1992 STS-42 International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1).8 days, 01 hours,
14 minutes, 44 seconds
15December 2, 1992 STS-53 Department of Defense payload.7 days, 07 hours,
19 minutes, 47 seconds
16April 8, 1993 STS-56 Atmospheric Laboratory (ATLAS-2).9 days, 06 hours,
08 minutes, 24 seconds
17September 12, 1993 STS-51 Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS).9 days, 20 hours,
11 minutes, 11 seconds
18February 3, 1994 STS-60 First Shuttle-Mir mission; Wake Shield Facility (WSF). First Russian launched in an American spacecraft (Sergei Krikalev).8 days, 07 hours,
09 minutes, 22 seconds
19September 9, 1994 STS-64 LIDAR In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE).10 days, 22 hours,
49 minutes, 57 seconds
20February 3, 1995 STS-63 Rendezvous with Mir space station. First female shuttle pilot Eileen Collins. [2] 8 days, 06 hours,
29 minutes, 36 seconds
21July 13, 1995 STS-70 7th Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS).8 days, 22 hours,
20 minutes, 05 seconds
22February 11, 1997 STS-82 Servicing Hubble Space Telescope (HST) (HSM-2).9 days, 23 hours,
38 minutes, 09 seconds
23August 7, 1997 STS-85 Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes (CRISTA).11 days, 20 hours,
28 minutes, 07 seconds
24June 2, 1998 STS-91 Final Shuttle/Mir Docking Mission.9 days, 19 hours,
55 minutes, 01 seconds
25October 29, 1998 STS-95 SPACEHAB, second flight of John Glenn, who was 77 years of age at that time, the oldest man in space and third incumbent member of Congress to enter space. Pedro Duque became the first Spaniard in space.8 days, 21 hours,
44 minutes, 56 seconds
26May 27, 1999 STS-96 First Orbiter Shuttle and first mission flight to dock with the International Space Station [2] 9 days, 19 hours,
13 minutes, 57 seconds
27December 19, 1999 STS-103 Servicing Hubble Space Telescope (HST) (HSM-3A).7 days, 23 hours,
11 minutes, 34 seconds
28October 11, 2000 STS-92 International Space Station Assembly Flight (carried and assembled the Z1 truss); 100th Shuttle mission.12 days, 21 hours,
43 minutes, 47 seconds
29March 8, 2001 STS-102 International Space Station crew rotation flight (Expedition 1 and Expedition 2)12 days, 19 hours,
51 minutes, 57 seconds
30August 10, 2001 STS-105 International Space Station crew and supplies delivery (Expedition 2 and Expedition 3)11 days 21 hours,
13 minutes, 52 seconds
31July 26, 2005 STS-114 First "Return To Flight" mission since Space Shuttle Columbia disaster; International Space Station (ISS) supplies delivery, new safety procedures testing and evaluation, Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Raffaello.13 days, 21 hours,
33 minutes, 00 seconds
32July 4, 2006 STS-121 Second "Return To Flight" mission since the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster; International Space Station (ISS) supplies delivery, test new safety and repair techniques.12 days, 18 hours,
37 minutes, 54 seconds
33December 9, 2006 STS-116 ISS crew rotation and assembly (carries and assembles the P5 truss segment); Last flight to launch on pad 39-B;
First night launch since Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
12 days, 20 hours,
44 minutes, 16 seconds
34October 23, 2007 STS-120 ISS crew rotation and assembly (carries and assembles the Harmony module).15 days, 02 hours,
23 minutes, 55 seconds
35May 31, 2008 STS-124 ISS crew rotation and assembly (carries and assembles the Kibō JEM PM module).13 days, 18 hours,
13 minutes, 07 seconds
36March 15, 2009 STS-119 International Space Station crew rotation and assembly of a fourth
starboard truss segment (ITS S6) and a fourth set of solar arrays and batteries. Also replaced a failed unit for a system that converts urine to drinking water.
12 days, 19 hours,
29 minutes, 33 seconds
37August 28, 2009 STS-128 International Space Station crew rotation and ISS resupply using the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. Also carried the C.O.L.B.E.R.T treadmill named after Stephen Colbert 13 days 20 hours, 54 minutes, 40 seconds
38April 5, 2010 STS-131 ISS resupply using the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. The mission also marked the first time that four women were in space and the first time that two Japanese astronauts were together on a space station. [29] Longest mission for this Orbiter.15 days 2 hours, 47 minutes 11 seconds‡
39February 24, 2011 STS-133 The mission launched at 4:53 pm EST on February 24, was carrying the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) Leonardo, the ELC-4 and Robonaut 2 to the ISS. [30] Final flight of Discovery.12 days 19 hours,
4 minutes, 50 seconds

‡ Longest shuttle mission for Discovery
– shortest shuttle mission for Discovery

Mission and tribute insignias

NASA Orbiter Tribute for Space Shuttle Discovery Space Shuttle Discovery Tribute.jpg
NASA Orbiter Tribute for Space Shuttle Discovery
Mission insignias for Discovery flights
STS 26
STS 29
Sts31 flight insignia.png
STS-39 patch.svg
STS-53 patch.svg
STS 33
STS 31
STS 41
STS 39
STS 48
STS 42
STS 53
STS 56
STS-51 patch.svg
STS 51
STS 60
STS 64
STS 63
STS 70
STS 82
STS 85
STS 91
STS-95 Patch.svg
STS-102 Patch.svg
STS-114 patch.svg
STS-121 patch.svg
STS 95
STS 96
STS 103
STS 92
STS 102
STS 105
STS 114
STS 121
STS-116 emblem.svg
STS-124 patch.svg
STS-119 Patch.svg
STS-128 Patch.svg
STS-131 patch.svg
STS-133 patch.svg
STS 116
STS 120
STS 124
STS 119
STS 128
STS 131
STS 133

Flow directors

The Flow Director was responsible for the overall preparation of the shuttle for launch and processing it after landing, and remained permanently assigned to head the spacecraft's ground crew while the astronaut flight crews changed for every mission. Each shuttle's Flow Director was supported by a Vehicle Manager for the same spacecraft. Space Shuttle Discovery's Flow Directors were:

STS-41-D launch August 30, 1984.jpg
07042007 SpaceShuttle Discovery.jpg
Space Shuttle Discovery under a full moon, 03-11-09.jpg
Discovery sits atop a Boeing 747 as it touched down.jpg
Space Shuttle Discovery lands for the first time, completing STS-41-D.jpg
The launch of STS-41-D, Discovery's first mission. STS-121 launched on July 4, 2006 – the only Shuttle to launch on Independence Day. STS-119 on the night of March 11, 2009.Discovery sits atop a modified Boeing 747 as it touches down.Discovery lands after its first flight, STS-41-D.
Discovery mission completed q.jpg
Modified Boeing 747 carrying Discovery.jpg
Space Shuttle Discovery Landing after STS-124.jpg
Concluding the STS-133 mission, Space Shuttle Discovery touches down at the Shuttle Landing Facility - cropped.jpg
Discovery performing the Rendezvous pitch maneuver prior to docking with the International Space Station.The Space Shuttle Discovery soon after landingModified Boeing 747 carrying Discovery. STS-124 comes to a close as Discovery lands at the Kennedy Space Center.Discovery's final touchdown on Kennedy Space Center's runway, concluding the STS-133 mission and Discovery's 27-year career.

See also

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STS-33 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission, during which Space Shuttle Discovery deployed a payload for the United States Department of Defense (DoD). STS-33 was the 32nd shuttle mission overall, the ninth flight of Discovery, and the fifth shuttle mission in support of the DoD. Due to the nature of the mission, specific details remain classified. Discovery lifted off from Pad B, Launch Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, on 22 November 1989 at 7:23 pm EST; it landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 28 November.

STS-70 human spaceflight

STS-70 was the 21st flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery, and the last of 7 shuttle missions to carry a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS). This was the first shuttle mission controlled from the new mission control center room at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. STS-70 was also the first flight of the new Block 1 orbiter main engine, designed to improve both engine performance and safety. The mission was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on 13 July 1995, only six days after the landing of sister ship Atlantis, marking the fastest turnaround between flights in the history of the program.

STS-109 human spaceflight

STS-109 (SM3B) was a Space Shuttle mission that launched from the Kennedy Space Center on 1 March 2002. It was the 108th mission of the Space Shuttle program, the 27th flight of the orbiter Columbia and the fourth servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope. It was also the last successful mission of the orbiter Columbia before the ill-fated STS-107 mission, which culminated in the Columbia disaster.


Space Shuttle missions designated STS-3xx were rescue missions which would have been mounted to rescue the crew of a Space Shuttle if their vehicle was damaged and deemed unable to make a successful reentry. Such a mission would have been flown if Mission Control determined that the heat shielding tiles and reinforced carbon-carbon panels of a currently flying orbiter were damaged beyond the repair capabilities of the available on-orbit repair methods. These missions were also referred to as Launch on Demand (LOD) and Contingency Shuttle Crew Support. The program was initiated following loss of Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003. No mission of this type was launched during the Space Shuttle program.

Joan Higginbotham American engineer and a former NASA astronaut

Joan Elizabeth Higginbotham is an American engineer and a former NASA astronaut. She flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-116 as a mission specialist and is the third African American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison and Stephanie Wilson.

STS-135 135th and final mission of the American Space Shuttle program

STS-135 was the 135th and final mission of the American Space Shuttle program. It used the orbiter Atlantis and hardware originally processed for the STS-335 contingency mission, which was not flown. STS-135 launched on 8 July 2011, and landed on 21 July 2011, following a one-day mission extension. The four-person crew was the smallest of any shuttle mission since STS-6 in April 1983. The mission's primary cargo was the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Raffaello and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC), which were delivered to the International Space Station (ISS). The flight of Raffaello marked the only time that Atlantis carried an MPLM.

Space Shuttle retirement

The retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle fleet took place from March to July 2011. Discovery was the first of the three active space shuttles to be retired, completing its final mission on March 9, 2011; Endeavour did so on June 1. The final shuttle mission was completed with the landing of Atlantis on July 21, 2011, closing the 30-year Space Shuttle program.


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from websites or documents ofthe National Aeronautics and Space Administration .

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