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The life of Discovery

26 Mar 2011, 00:09 UTC
The life of Discovery
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Discovery, with her maiden flight on 30 August 1984, with STS-41D. On the ascent she carried more than 41,000 lbs of cargo which was a record at the time. This...

Discovery blasts off carrying the JAXA module 'kibo' meaning 'hope' in Japanese. Credit; NASA
Discovery, with her maiden flight on 30 August 1984, with STS-41D. On the ascent she carried more than 41,000 lbs of cargo which was a record at the time. This cargo was mainly science experiments to study the effects of microgravity. Discovery was also the first shuttle to retrieve a satellite and bring it back to Earth. In 1985 Discovery was the first shuttle to fly four missions in one year

On STS-51D the first sitting member of the US congress blasted off into orbit, Jake Garn, the republican senator of Utah. During the landing she suffered a blown front tire and subsequent brake damage. This then meant that all further flights for five years were directed to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California until nose wheel steering was introduced and brakes improved.

After the Challenger and Columbia disasters it was Discovery who was called upon to return the US to ...

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