Recently I stumbled across a 360 view of the Space Shuttle Discovery during decommissioning. If you click on the link you will see an animated 360 view of the front of the shuttle. Just from this little print screen you can see that there is a lot to learn before you can even think about flying one of these birds. Image source: (c) 2011 by Jook Leung for THELASTSHUTTLE.COM
Space Shuttle Discovery
The Discovery is a retired orbiter of the NASA Space Shuttle program. She first flew on August 30th, 1984 and flew her final voyage on March 9th, 2011. The Discovery had 39 successful mission in 27 years of service.
The Space Shuttle Discovery was used to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. She was also used for research and International Space Station assembly missions. Image Source: Enterprise and Discovery
Space Shuttle Discovery OV-103 Final Resting Spot
On March 9th, 2011 The Discovery was Decommissioned and was offered to the Smithsonian Institutions National Air and Space Museum for public display and preservation.
After the month long decontamination process the discovery was transferred to the Smithsonian display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on April 19th, 2012 where it replaced Enterprise Shuttle display. Image Source: Discovery on Display
On April 19th, there was a formal welcome ceremony. Then around 5:30 pm, the Discovery was rolled to its “final wheels stop” where she sits to this day.
Source: I gathered some basic history and information from several sources, but you can find more information about NASA, Space Shuttle Program, Discovery, and the Enterprise here.
Originally I was planning to write a short article about the 360 view of the shuttle’s command center. But I got the research bug and just had to find out more about the discovery.
As for the history of the Discovery, I grew up with the NASA shuttle program. I remember everything from its crowning achievements to shuttle crashes. When I had heard they were retiring the program I was sad to see it go. I know they are spending their budget on more important things, but its still sad that there will never be another chance to see one of these shuttles strapped to a back of rocket and be shot into to space or see one these birds land from space.
I am glad that they choose to save a peace of our history (yes I know they have the Enterprise on Display in New York) in Virginia instead of scrapping her like they mostly like will do to rest of the shuttles.
Make sure to check out the 360 view, it is incredible and looks almost like you are sitting right there and you can reach out and touch the controls.