Space Shuttle Orbiter OV-103; it made its maiden flight on August 30, 1984 (STS-41D). Discovery was named after one of two ships captained by British explorer James Cook who sailed the South Pacific in the 1770s and discovered the Hawaiian Islands. Cook's other ship, Endeavour, also inspired the name of a Space Shuttle.
Shuttle Discovery's milestones have included the first flights following the Challenger disaster (STS-26) and the loss of Columbia; the first retrieval of a satellite from orbit and return to Earth; the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope (STS-31) and of Ulysses (STS-41); the first female Shuttle pilot (STS-63), and the first Shuttle/Mir rendezvous (STS-63). Discovery completed more missions than any other vehicle in the Space Shuttle fleet. It was launched for the 39th and final time on February 24, 2011, on a mission to the International Space Station. On April 17, 2012, it was flown on the back of a modified Boeing 747 to Dulles Airport, Washington DC, before being towed to the National Air and Space Museum, Virginia, where it will be on permanent exhibition to the public.
Related category MANNED SPACEFLIGHT
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