Government IT: Discovery Landing Ends Storied Chapter in NASA History
NASA moved one step closer to the end of an illustrious era of spaceflight when space shuttle Discovery touched down for the last time at Kennedy Space Center on March 9. Discovery and its six-member crew delivered the Permanent Multipurpose Module, packed with supplies and critical spare parts, as well as Robonaut 2, the dexterous humanoid astronaut helper, to the International Space Station. STS-133 was Discovery's 39th and final mission. This was the 133rd space shuttle program mission and the 35th shuttle voyage to the ISS. Discovery has flown more missions than any other shuttlemore than any other spacecraft, in fact. After 38 missions to date, and more than 5,600 trips around the Earth, Discovery has carried satellites such as the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit and sent the Ulysses robotic probe on its way to the sun. It was the first shuttle to rendezvous with the Russian Mir Space Station, and it delivered the Japanese Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station. "The shuttle has provided an amazing capacity for this country to gather data," said Bryan Lunney, lead space shuttle flight director for the mission. "This chapter in our space history known as the space shuttle has been incredible."