JUST IN: The Discovery is already in orbit on its way to the International Space Station. God speed.
If all goes well, NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery starts today its farewell mission to space, ending its 28 flawless years of service. Aptly named after the great era of discoveries, this shuttle has had an illustrious career, which includes the launch of space observatory Hubble, transporting the oldest astronaut to ever fly in the program, a first mission led by a female captain, the first African-American to walk into space and many other accomplishments.
When Discovery’s concludes this last trip, originally scheduled for last December, it’ll have carried 180 people in 39 space missions. No other spacecraft flew as many times. With today’s mission, it’ll also be the first shuttle to include in its crew a humanoid robot, the Robonaut 2, that will remain at the International Space Station to assist in a variety of tasks. This is one of the last planned missions for NASA’s Shuttle Program.
So here’s hoping that all stays well and bon voyage Discovery. We’ll be waiting for you.