Friday, October 29, 2010

STS-133: The Final Flight of Space Shuttle Discovery

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASATelevision

The final flight of Shuttle Shuttle Discovery (OV-103) is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on November 1, 2010. This will be the 39th flight for Discovery and the 35th mission to the ISS. The six person all veteren crew will be commanded by Steven Lindsey (Commander), Eric Boe (Pilot), Alvin Drew (MS1), Timothy Copra (MS2), Nichael Baratt (MS3) and Nicole Stott (MS4). The 11 day mission is expected to include two spacewalks by Kopra and Drew. The mission objectives include the installation of of the Leonardo Permanent Multi-Purpose Module, the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 4, Robonaut 2 and the SpaceX DragonEye sensor.

Best wishes to the crew of STS-133 for a very successful and safe mission.

Discovery has flown 38 flights, completed 5,247 orbits and has spent 322 days in orbit. Discovery first flew on August 30, 1984 and since then has flown a total of 246 crew members and traveled 142,917,535 miles. It has launched a total of 31 satellites including te Hubble Space Telescope, docked to the Russian MIR Space Station and docked to the ISS 11 times. The second and third Hubble service missions were also conducted by Discovery. It was also this orbiter that carried astronaut John Glenn back into space on STS-95 on October 29, 1998. Glenn was 77 at that time.

Discovery was named after one of the most famous British ships of exploration - HMS Discovery which was commandered by Captain James Cook durng his third and final major voyage of 1776. After decommisioning Discovery will be placed on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum. Discovery will replace Space Shuttle Enterprise in the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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