Last Flight of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133

Space Shuttle Discovery

Nasa announced on Friday that Space Shuttle Discovery was ready to launch on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 4:50pm.  Sadly, this is the last flight of Discovery.

The Shuttle is already on launch pad 39A and is prepared to leave.  The countdown will start on Monday at 3pm.   

The crew members on Discovery’s final mission are Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Michael Baratt, Steve Bowen and Nicole Stott.  Bowen replaced astronaut Tim Kipra, who was injured in a bicycle accident in January.

Discovery will be making it’s way to the International Space Station where it will deliver and install the Permanent Multipurpose Module, the Express Logistics Carrier 4 and provide other important components required by the Space Station.  Discovery has been to the Space Station 35 times.

Space Shuttle Discovery is one of three currently operating space shuttles and will be the first of the fleet to be retired after this mission.  The other two orbiters are Atlantis and Endeavour.  Discovery’s first launch was on August 30, 1984 and up until now has flown 38 missions.  It has orbited the Earth 5,628 times, deployed 31 satellites and has docked with the International Space Station 11 times.

Discovery has had several groundbreaking missions.  It was the shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope and also performed the second and third Hubble service missions.  Discovery was the return to flight orbiter after both the 1986 Challenger disaster and the 2003 Columbia disaster.

STS-133, this final mission, will last 11 days.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s sad to see the end of the shuttle program drawing to a close.  These awesome machines have been carrying our dreams into space for 30 years.

Photo Credit:  NASA/Kim Shiflett

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3 Responses to “Last Flight of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-133”

  • Cooper L******** says:

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  • Sibel says:

    In terms of the American space program, the futrue of launches to orbit is (if it gets through the Congressional obstacle course) .In short, rather than paying to develop and purchase vehicles, NASA will pay for tickets on privately owned and operated spacecraft. SpaceX (who have been mentioned on LP in the past) are probably furthest along; they have a functioning rocket, the Falcon 9, and a partially completed capsule that has successfully launched and launched (Dragon).The Falcon/Dragon launch stack isn’t as Buck Rogers as a shuttle, but it’s so much cheaper that it’s not funny.


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