The Space Legacy of Shuttle Discovery

Lightning Strikes

Justin Dernier, EPA

Rollout of space shuttle Discovery is slow-going due to the onset of lightning in the area of Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rollout was in preparation for launch on the STS-128 mission to the International Space Station. This image taken Aug. 4, 2009.

Summertime, and the Crawlin' Is Difficult

NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Space shuttle Discovery is silhouetted against the dawn sky as it rolls out to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida before launch on mission STS-128 to the International Space Station. After a two-hour delay due to lightning in the area, technicians stopped several times during the rollout to clear mud from the crawler's treads and bearings caused by the waterlogged crawlerway. This image was taken Aug. 4, 2009.

Roll to Me

NASA/Jack Pfaller

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, shuttle Discovery pauses in between Orbiter Processing Facility-3 and the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) during a move called "rollover." Once inside the VAB, the shuttle will be joined to its solid rocket boosters and external fuel tank. This image was taken Sept. 9, 2010.

STS-133 Crew Arrives

collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman

Space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 crew arrives at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 20, 2011. From left: Nicole Stott, Michael Barratt, Steve Bowen, Al Drew, Eric Boe and Steven Lindsey.

Stand Back!

NASA/Tony Gray and Tom Farrar

Space shuttle Discovery ignites for liftoff on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida beginning its final flight, the STS-133 mission, to the International Space Station, on Feb. 24, 2011.

The Long Launch View

NASA/Jeff Marino

Space shuttle Discovery lifts off Launch Pad 39A atop twin columns of fire, creating rolling clouds of smoke and steam in its track. Launch of the STS-133 mission was at 4:53 p.m. EST on Feb. 24, 2011 as seen from the roof of NASA's 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building.

The Last Days of Disco(very)


Friday, February 25, 2011: Space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a warm afternoon, at 4:53 p.m. EST on Feb. 24. This flight, the STS-133 mission, marks Discovery's final flight. The six-member crew will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module and Robonaut 2, the dexterous humanoid astronaut helper, to the International Space Station.

--Tom Chao

Hello, Discovery!


Space shuttle Discovery is seen pulling up to the International Space Station on Feb. 26, 2010 during docking day for its final space mission STS-133. Italian astroanut Paolo Nespoli took this photo from inside the station. A Russian spacecraft is visible at top.

Space Shuttle Discovery Landing

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Space shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to complete its 39th and final flight.

Home at Last

NASA/Jack Pfaller

Space shuttle Discovery's 39th and final flight concluded on March 9, 2011. Here, the "towback" vehicle pulls the spacecraft into Orbiter Processing Facility-2 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a well-deserved rest. NASA will now prepare Discovery for future public display.

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