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Space Shuttle Discovery – NASA’s 3rd Operational Space shuttle

Space Shuttle Discovery was the third operational area shuttle. It was the third orbiter built and the lightest one due to its light-weight thermal blanket materials. Discovery was generally referred to as OV-103, for Orbiter Car-103. Discovery was first flown in 1984 and retired in 2011.

Specs: Empty Weight: 151,419 lbs at rollout and 171,000 lbs with principal engines put in.
Flew 39 occasions.

Space Shuttle Discovery was named after considered one of two ships that have been used by the British explorer James Prepare dinner in the 1770s during voyages within the South Pacific that led to the discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. Another of his ships was the Endeavour, the namesake of NASA’s orbiter. Prepare dinner additionally used Discovery to explore the coasts of southern Alaska and north-western Canada. In the course of the American Revolutionary Conflict, Benjamin Franklin made a protected conduct request for the British vessel due to the scientific importance of its analysis.

Upgrades and Features

Discovery benefited from classes discovered in the development and testing of Enterprise, Columbia and Challenger. At rollout, its weight was some 6,870 kilos less than Columbia. Two orbiters, Challenger and Discovery, have been modified at Kennedy Space Middle (KSC) to allow them to carry the Centaur higher stage in the payload bay. These modifications included additional plumbing to load and vent Centaur’s cryogenic (L02/LH2) propellants (different IUS/PAM higher levels use strong propellants), and controls on the aft flight deck for loading and monitoring the Centaur stage. No Centaur flight was ever flown and after the loss of Challenger it was determined that the danger was too great to launch a shuttle with a fuelled Centaur higher stage in the payload bay.

Development Milestones

29 January 1979: Contract Award
27 August 1979: Start lengthy lead fabrication of Crew Module
20 June 1980: Start fabrication lower fuselage
10 November 1980: Begin structural meeting of aft-fuselage
eight December 1980: Start preliminary system set up aft fuselage
2 March 1981: Begin fabrication/meeting of payload bay doorways
19 October 1981: Begin detailed fabrication/meeting of physique flap
26 October 1981: Begin preliminary system set up, crew module, Downey
Four April 1982: Start initial system installation higher forward fuselage
16 March 1982: Mid-fuselage on dock, Palmdale
30 March 1982: Elevons on dock, Palmdale
30 April 1982: Wings arrive at Palmdale from Grumman
30 April 1982: Lower forward fuselage on dock, Palmdale
16 July 1982: Upper ahead fuselage on dock, Palmdale
5 August 1982: Vertical stabilizer on dock, Palmdale
Three September 1982: Start of Last Meeting
15 October 1982: Body flap on dock, Palmdale
11 January 1983: Aft fuselage on dock, Palmdale
25 February 1983: Complete last assembly and closeout installation, Palmdale
28 February 1983: Start preliminary subsystems check, power-on, Palmdale
13 Might 1983: Full initial subsystems testing
26 July 1983: Complete subsystems testing
12 August 1983: Accomplished Last Acceptance
16 October 1983: Rollout from Palmdale
5 November 1983: Overland transport from Palmdale to Edwards
9 November 1983: Supply to Kennedy Space Middle
20 June 1984: Flight Readiness Firing
30 August 1984: First Flight of Discovery (41-D)


1. 41-D (30 August 1984) – First Discovery mission. Launched two communications satellites, together with LEASAT F2.

STS-41-D was the first flight of Space Shuttle Discovery and the 12th shuttle mission. The Discovery orbiter was launched on its maiden flight on 30 August 1984. The mission lasted 6 days, 56 minutes, with landing on Runway 17 at Edwards AFB on 5 September.  It was transported back to KSC on 10 September.

2. 51-A (8 November, 1984) – Launched two and rescued two communications satellites including LEASAT F1.  Featured the third touchdown at Kennedy Space Middle.

Three. 51-C (24 January 1985) –  First mission dedicated to Department of Defense. U.S. Air Drive Inertial Higher Stage (IUS) booster deployed. STS-51C marked the 100th human spaceflight to realize orbit.

Four. 51-D (12 April 1985) – Launched two communications satellites: TELESAT-l (ANIK C-1) and LEASAT F3.

5. 51-G (17 June, 1985) – Sultan Salman al-Saud was the primary Saudi Arabian in area. Launched two communications satellites.

6. 51-I (27 August 1985) –  Launched two communications satellites including LEASAT F4. Recovered LEASAT F3.

7. STS-26 (29 September 1988) – First  ‘Return to Flight’ mission after the Space Shuttle Challenger Catastrophe. This was the first mission to use the original Space Transportation System numbering system since STS-9, and the first to have all crew members sporting strain fits for launch and touchdown since STS-Four.

eight. STS-29 (13 March 1989) – The 3rd mission after the Challenger catastrophe. Launched TDRS.

9. STS-33 (22 November, 1989) – Launched DOD Magnum ELINT satellite.

10. STS-31 (24 April 1990) – Launched Hubble Space Telescope. First use of carbon brakes at touchdown. Launch marked the primary time since January 1986 that two Space Shuttles had been on the launch pad on the similar time – Discovery on 39B and Columbia on 39A.

11. STS-41 (6 October 1990) – Launched the Ulysses probe. Ulysses was a joint venture of NASA and the European Space Company. It was designed to review the Solar in any respect latitudes. It was initially scheduled for launch in 1986 aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.

12. STS-39 (28 April 1991) – Launched DOD Air Drive Program satellite tv for pc.

13. STS-48 (12 September 1991) – Launch of Upper Environment Analysis Satellite (UARS).

14. STS-42 (22 January 1992) – Carried into orbit the International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1), a pressurized manned Spacelab module. Canada despatched its first lady astronaut, Roberta Bondar, into area on this mission.

15. STS-53 (2 December 1992) – Launched Division of Protection payload.

16. STS-56 (8 April 1993) – Atmospheric Laboratory (ATLAS-2).

17. STS-51 (12 September 1993) – Advanced Communications Know-how Satellite (ACTS).

18. STS-60 (Three February 1994) – The primary mission of the US / Russian Shuttle-Mir Program, which carried the first Russian cosmonaut, Sergei Okay. Krikalev to fly aboard a Space Shuttle. The mission carried the Wake Defend Facility experiment and a SPACEHAB module into orbit, and carried out a reside bi-directional audio and downlink link-up with the cosmonauts aboard the Russian Space Station Mir.

19. STS-64 (9 September 1994) – Carried the LIDAR In-Space Know-how Experiment (LITE), a challenge to measure atmospheric parameters from an area platform.

20. STS-63 (3 February 1995) – The second mission of the US / Russian Shuttle-Mir Program, which carried out the primary rendezvous of the American Space Shuttle with Mir Space Stationr. STS-63 was the first mission to see using the new full-pressure Superior Crew Escape System Strain Go well with, which ultimately changed the partial-pressure Launch-Escape Go well with.

21. STS-70 (13 July 1995) – Launch and deployment of the seventh Tracking and Knowledge Relay Satellite tv for pc (TDRS) via the two-stage Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) strong rocket. STS-70 marked the maiden flight of the brand new Block 1 orbiter most important engine.

22. STS-82 (11 February 1997) – Second servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Discovery underwent a nine-month Orbiter Upkeep Down Period (OMDP) in Palmdale California. The car was outfitted with a 5th set of cryogenic tanks and an external airlock to help missions to the Worldwide Space Station. Discovery departed Palmdale, California, driving piggy-back on a modified Boeing 747 at 10:01am EDT 28 June 1996 and arrived at Kennedy Space Middle on 29 June 1996.

23. STS-85 (7 August 1997) – Carried a complement of payloads within the cargo bay: the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Environment-Shuttle Pallet Satellite tv for pc-2 (CRISTA-SPAS-02); the Japanese Manipulator Flight Improvement (MFD); the Know-how Purposes and Science-01 (TAS-1) and the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker-02 (IEH-02).

24. STS-91 (2 June 1998) – Last Shuttle / Mir Docking Mission.

25. STS-95 (29 October 1998) – Second area flight of John Glenn, who broke the report for oldest individual to enter area. Pedro Duque turned the first Spaniard in area.

26. STS-96 (27 Might 1999) – First flight to dock with the Worldwide Space Station.

27. STS-103 (19 December 1999) – Third servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

28. STS-92 (11 October 2000) – STS-92 marked the 100th mission of the Space Shuttle. An meeting flight that brought the Z-1 Truss, Control Moment Gyros, Pressurized Mating Adapter-Three (PMA-Three) (mounted on a Spacelab pallet) and two DDCU (Warmth pipes) to the Worldwide Space Station.

29. STS-102 (eight March 2001) – Resupplying the ISS and rotating the Expedition 1 and Expedition 2 crews.

30. STS-105 (10 August 2001) – Worldwide Space Station crew and provides supply for Expedition 2 and Expedition Three.

In 2002, Discovery underwent an over two yr Orbiter Maintenance Down Interval that offered 99 upgrades and 88 particular exams, together with various modifications to make it safer for flight. Every wing incorporates new sensors which might be capable of take 20,000 samples per second and detect micrometeorite or other impacts. There are 22 temperature sensors and 66 accelerometers. Discovery additionally has a brand new 50-foot inspection growth that can be utilized to examine Discovery’s underside for injury.

31. STS-114 (26 July 2005) – First return to flight since Space Shuttle Columbia Catastrophe, tested safety improvements and resupplied the ISS. Eileen Collins was the first lady to pilot and command a Space Shuttle. She was the primary astronaut to fly the area shuttle by way of an entire 360-degree pitch maneuver. This was essential so astronauts aboard the ISS might take pictures of the shuttle’s stomach, to make sure there was no menace from debris-related injury to the shuttle.

32. STS-121 (4 July 2006) The second return to flight mission because the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia Catastrophe. Examined new security and repair methods, delivered provides, gear and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Reiter from Germany to the ISS.

33. STS-116 (9 December 2006) – Supply and attachment of the Worldwide Space Station’s third port truss phase (the P5 truss), major rewiring of the station’s power system, and change of ISS Expedition 14 personnel.

34. STS-120 (23 October 2007) – Delivered the Concord module and reconfigured a portion of the station in preparation for future meeting missions.

35. STS-124 (31 Might 2008) – International Space Station crew rotation and meeting (carried and assembled the Kibo JEM PM module).

36. STS-119 (15 March 2009) – ISS crew rotation and assembly of a fourth starboard truss phase (ITS S6) and a fourth set of photo voltaic arrays and batteries.

37. STS-128 (28 August 2009) Worldwide Space Station crew rotation and ISS resupply utilizing the Leonardo Multi-Objective Logistics Module. Additionally carrying the C.O.L.B.E.R.T treadmill named after Stephen Colbert.

38. STS-131 (5 April 2010) Multi-Objective Logistics Module loaded with supplies and gear for the Worldwide Space Station

39. STS-133 (Three February 2011) Planned International Space Station flight. Ultimate mission for Discovery and final flight of the Space Shuttle program.

Did you know?

Different well-known ships have carried the identify Discovery, including one utilized by Henry Hudson to discover Hudson Bay in Canada as well as seek for what was hoped to be the northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1610 and 1611. Another, based mostly on whaling ship design, was used by the British Royal Geographical Society for an expedition to the North Pole in 1875. This group then built one other Discovery in 1901 to conduct its Antarctic expedition that concluded in 1904. This ship still exists and is being preserved by the Society.


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