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Discovery (OV-103)

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Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-103) is one of the three currently operational orbiters in the Space Shuttle fleet of NASA, the space agency of the United States.(The other two are Atlantis and Endeavour.) When first flown in 1984, Discovery became the third operational orbiter, and is now the oldest orbiter in service. Discovery has performed both research and International Space Station (ISS) assembly missions.

History

The spacecraft takes its name from previous ships of exploration named Discovery, primarily HMS Discovery, the sailing ship that accompanied famous explorer James Cook on his third and final major voyage. Others include Henry Hudson's ship Discovery which he used in 1610–1611 to search for a Northwest Passage, and RRS Discovery, a vessel used for expeditions to Antarctica in 1901-1904 by Scott and Shackleton (and still preserved as a museum). The shuttle shares a name with Discovery One, the fictional Jupiter spaceship from the films 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010.

Discovery was the shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope. The second and third Hubble service missions were also conducted by Discovery. She has also launched the Ulysses probe and three TDRS satellites. Discovery has been chosen twice as the return to flight orbiter, first in 1988 as the return to flight orbiter after the 1986 Challenger disaster, and then for the twin return to flight missions in July 2005 and July 2006 after the 2003 Columbia disaster. Discovery also carried Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn, who was 77 at the time, back into space during STS-95 on October 29, 1998, making him the oldest human being to venture into space.

Had the STS-62-A planned missions from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1986 for the United States Department of Defense gone ahead, Discovery would have flown those missions.
220px-Discovery rollout ceremony-1-

Discovery rollout ceremony in October 1983

Flights

Discovery has flown 35 flights, completed 4,888 orbits, and flown 117,433,618 miles (195,938,294 km) in total. Discovery is the orbiter fleet leader, having flown more flights than any other orbiter in the fleet, 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.

Flights listing

# Date Designation Notes Length of journey
1 1984 August 30 STS-41-D First Discovery mission: Launched two communications satellites, including LEASAT F2. 6 days, 00 hours,
56 minutes, 04 seconds
2 1984 November 8 STS-51-A Launched two and rescued two communications satellites including LEASAT F1. 7 days, 23 hours,
44 minutes, 56 seconds
3 1985 January 24 STS-51-C Launched DOD Magnum ELINT satellite. 3 days, 01 hours,
33 minutes, 23 seconds
4 1985 April 12 STS-51-D Launched two communications satellites including LEASAT F3. 6 days, 23 hours,
55 minutes, 23 seconds
5 1985 June 17 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
6 1985 August 27 STS-51-I Launched two communications satellites including LEASAT F4. Recovered, repaired, and redeployed LEASAT F3. 7 days, 02 hours,
17 minutes, 42 seconds
7 1988 September 29 STS-26 Return to flight after Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, launched TDRS. 4 days, 01 hours,
00 minutes, 11 seconds
8 1989 March 13 STS-29 Launched TDRS. 4 days, 23 hours,
38 minutes, 52 seconds
9 1989 November 22 STS-33 Launched DOD Magnum ELINT satellite. 5 days, 00 hours,
06 minutes, 49 seconds
10 1990 April 24 STS-31 Launch of Hubble Space Telescope (HST). 5 days, 01 hours,
16 minutes, 06 seconds
11 1990 October 6 STS-41 Launch of Ulysses. 4 days, 02 hours,
10 minutes, 04 seconds
12 1991 April 28 STS-39 Launched DOD Air Force Program-675 (AFP675) satellite. 8 days, 07 hours,
22 minutes, 23 seconds
13 1991 September 12 STS-48 Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS). 5 days, 08 hours,
27 minutes, 38 seconds
14 1992 January 22 STS-42 International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1). 8 days, 01 hours,
14 minutes, 44 seconds
15 1992 December 2 STS-53 Department of Defense payload. 7 days, 07 hours,
19 minutes, 47 seconds
16 1993 April 8 STS-56 Atmospheric Laboratory (ATLAS-2). 9 days, 06 hours,
08 minutes, 24 seconds
17 1993 September 12 STS-51 Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS). 9 days, 20 hours,
11 minutes, 11 seconds
18 1994 February 3 STS-60 Wake Shield Facility (WSF). 7 days, 06 hours,
08 minutes, 36 seconds
19 1994 September 9 STS-64 LIDAR In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE). 10 days, 22 hours,
49 minutes, 57 seconds
20 1995 February 3 STS-63 Rendezvous with Mir space station. 8 days, 06 hours,
29 minutes, 36 seconds
21 1995 July 13 STS-70 7th Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS). 8 days, 22 hours,
20 minutes, 05 seconds
22 1997 February 11 STS-82 Servicing Hubble Space Telescope (HST) (HSM-2). 9 days, 23 hours,
38 minutes, 09 seconds
23 1997 August 7 STS-85 Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes. 11 days, 20 hours,
28 minutes, 07 seconds
24 1998 June 2 STS-91 Final Shuttle/Mir Docking Mission. 9 days, 19 hours,
55 minutes, 01 seconds
25 1998 October 29 STS-95 SPACEHAB, second flight of John Glenn, Pedro Duque becomes first Spaniard in space. 8 days, 21 hours,
44 minutes, 56 seconds
26 1999 May 27 STS-96 Resupply mission for the International Space Station. 9 days, 19 hours,
13 minutes, 57 seconds
27 1999 December 19 STS-103 Servicing Hubble Space Telescope (HST) (HSM-3A). 7 days, 23 hours,
11 minutes, 34 seconds
28 2000 October 11 STS-92 International Space Station Assembly Flight (carried and assembled the Z1 truss); 100th Shuttle mission. 12 days, 21 hours,
43 minutes, 47 seconds
29 2001 March 8 STS-102 International Space Station crew rotation flight (Expedition 1 and Expedition 2) 12 days, 19 hours,
51 minutes, 57 seconds
30 2001 August 10 STS-105 International Space Station crew and supplies delivery (Expedition 2 and Expedition 3) 11 days 21 hours,
13 minutes, 52 seconds
31 2005 July 26 STS-114 Return to flight since Space Shuttle Columbia disaster; International Space Station (ISS) supplies delivery, new safety procedures testing and evaluation, Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Rafaello. 13 days, 21 hours,
33 minutes, 00 seconds
32 2006 July 4 STS-121 ISS Flight ULF1.1, ISS supply delivery/crew rotation, Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Leonardo 12 days, 18 hours,
37 minutes, 54 seconds
33 2006 December 9 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
34 2007 October 23 STS-120 ISS crew rotation and assembly (carries and assembles the Harmony module). 15 days, 02 hours,
23 minutes, 55 seconds‡
35 2008 May 31 STS-124 ISS crew rotation and assembly (carries and assembles the Kibō JEM PM module). 13 days, 18 hours,
13 minutes, 07 seconds
36 2009 March 15 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. The day before expected landing, the crew answered questions from many students including Crista Nishimoto of Stevenson Middle School who asked the question at the space downlink at Punahou School.
12 days, 19 hours,
29 minutes, 33 seconds
37 2009 August 6+ STS-128 Planned International Space Station crew rotation and expansion of Expedition crews from 3 to 6 by the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module.
38 2010 April 8+ STS-132 Planned International Space Station assembly of Russian Mini-Research Module 1.
39 2010 September 16+ STS-134 Planned International Space Station delivery of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Final mission for Discovery and last flight of the Space Shuttle program.

‡ Longest shuttle mission for Discovery
+ Targeted date as mission has yet to launch
* No Earlier Than (Tentative)

Planned Decommissioning

According to the current schedule, Space Shuttle Discovery will be decommissioned in 2010.Discovery will be the last space shuttle to fly on mission STS-134. NASA expects to launch the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle on the new Ares I rocket by 2014.

NASA has offered Space Shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum for public display and preservation as part of the national collection after the orbiter has been retired.

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