NASA -National Aeronautics and Space Administration   SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY






First flown on August 30, 1984, Discovery is the third operational space shuttle, and the oldest remaining in service. It has performed both research and International Space Station (ISS) assembly missions.



Rollout of the orbiter Discovery, 1998 (NASA)


Rollout of the orbiter Discovery, 1998 (NASA)



The spacecraft takes its name from previous ships of exploration named Discovery, primarily HMS Discovery, a ship that accompanied explorer James Cook on his third and final major voyage. Others include Henry Hudson's ship Discovery which he used in 1610–1611 to search for a Northwest Passage, and RRS Discovery, a vessel used for expeditions to Antarctica in 1901-1904 by Scott and Shackleton (and still preserved as a museum). The shuttle shares a name with Discovery One, the spaceship from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.



Space Shuttle
Latest Return to Flight Information
Space Shuttle Discovery

Get the latest information on NASA's Return to Flight and the STS-114 mission.

STS-114 Flight Briefing Materials
STS-114 Preflight Briefing Materials
STS-114 crew interview transcripts
STS-107 Crew Memorial Web Pages
STS-114 preflight imagery
The Return to Flight Reference Page
Space Station
Space Station Updates in New Location
IMAGE: International Space Station

Updates on the International Space Station are moving. Please go to the new Space Station page on the NASA Web for continuing International Space Station coverage.

Space Station Archives
Expedition 11 Preflight Briefing Materials
Expedition 11 Press Kit
Interactive: View a history of space stations (requires Flash Player).

  IMAGE: NASA home page
Behind the Scenes  IMAGE: NASA home page Space News
Behind the Scenes of Human Space Flight
IMAGE:  Lead Increment Scientist Representative Judy Tate Human space flight starts on the ground, where thousands of NASA employees, contractors and industry partners work together to send humans safely into space. Meet the people who make it all happen and visit the unique facilities where they work.
Follow the progress of NASA’s newest astronaut candidates in the Astronaut Candidates 2004 - Training Journals.
Also, visit the Gallery for portraits of the 2004 class of astronaut candidates.

IMAGE: Readers' Room
Visit the Readers' Room for important documents and information about NASA.
IMAGE: Web Launch Pad
ISS Status Reports
Get the Latest Information on NASA's Return to Flight Efforts
Astronaut Phillips Provides Congressional Testimony from Space
NASA Reopens Shuttle Return to Flight Media Accreditation
Joint Statement by International Space Station Heads of Agency
NASA Signs With Yahoo! and Akamai to Bring Shuttle Mission Online
Payload canister arrives at launch pad Yahoo! Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., will provide live streaming of NASA TV mission coverage in Windows Media format and be the only other official online host of NASA TV footage beyond the NASA website.
Visit NASA's SkyWatch to get Space Station viewing times in your area.
Interactive: See how the ISS orients itself (requires Flash Player).
Check out the updated Saturn V Rocket Interactive.




Discovery was the shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope. The second and third Hubble Space Telescope service mission was also conducted by Discovery. It has also launched the Ulysses probe and three TDRS satellites. Discovery has been chosen twice as the return to flight orbiter, first as the return to flight orbiter after the Challenger Disaster in 1986, and as the orbiter for the return to flight mission in July 2005, after the Columbia Disaster. Discovery also carried Project Mercury astronaut John Glenn, who was 77 at the time, back into space during STS-95 on October 29, 1998, making him the oldest human being to venture into space.



Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-114 lands safely on August 9, 2005.


Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-114 lands safely

on August 9, 2005



STS-114 mission


On July 26, 2005 at 10:39 EDT, Discovery launched into space on mission STS-114, marking the first shuttle launch since the February 2003 Columbia Disaster. Video taken during the minutes after the launch revealed that a piece of foam insulation came off Discovery's external fuel tank, although it apparently did not damage the shuttle. After the problem was discovered, NASA suspended all future launches until the problem is solved.


Discovery was set to return on August 8, 2005, but their mission was extended due to unfavorable weather conditions. The shuttle returned from orbit on August 9, 2005, landing at Edwards Air Force Base at 8:12 AM EDT after travelling 5.8 million miles.





Space Shuttle Discovery has flown 31 flights, spent 241.95 days in space, completed 3,808 orbits, and flown 98,710,673 miles (158,859,429 km) in total, as of July 2005.

Discovery is set for retirement in 2010.


Notable missions

  • STS-41-D: First Flight

  • STS-51-D: Carried first sitting United States congressman into space, Senator Jake Garn (R-UT)

  • STS-26: Return to space after Challenger disaster (STS-51-L)

  • STS-95: Second flight of John Glenn, oldest man in space

  • STS-114: Return to space after Columbia disaster (STS-107)

Date Designation Notes
1984 August 30 STS-41-D Launched two communications satellites
1984 November 8 STS-51-A Launched two and rescued two communications satellites
1985 January 24 STS-51-C Launched DOD Magnum ELINT satellite
1985 April 12 STS-51-D Launched two communications satellites
1985 June 17 STS-51-G Launched two communications satellites
1985 August 27 STS-51-I Launched three communications satellites
1988 September 29 STS-26 Return to flight, launched TDRS
1989 March 13 STS-29 Launched TDRS
1989 November 22 STS-33 Launched DOD Magnum ELINT satellite
1990 April 24 STS-31 Launch of Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
1990 October 6 STS-41 Launch of Ulysses
1991 April 28 STS-39 Launched DOD Air Force Program-675 (AFP675) satellite
1991 September 12 STS-48 Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS)
1992 January 22 STS-42 International Microgravity Laboratory-1 (IML-1)
1992 December 2 STS-53 Department of Defense payload
1993 April 8 STS-56 Atmospheric Laboratory (ATLAS-2)
1993 September 12 STS-51 Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS)
1994 February 3 STS-60 Wake Shield Facility (WSF)
1994 September 9 STS-64 LIDAR In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE)
1995 February 3 STS-63 Rendezvous with Mir space station
1995 July 13 STS-70 7th Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)
1997 February 11 STS-82 Servicing Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
1997 August 7 STS-85 Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes
1998 June 2 STS-91 Final Shuttle/Mir Docking Mission
1998 October 29 STS-95 Second flight of John Glenn
1999 May 27 STS-96 Resupply mission for the International Space Station
1999 December 19 STS-103 Servicing Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
2000 October 11 STS-92 International Space Station Assembly Flight
2001 March 8 STS-102 International Space Station crew rotation flight
2001 August 10 STS-105 International Space Station crew and supplies delivery
2005 July 26 STS-114 Return to flight, International Space Station supplies delivery, new safety procedures testing and evaluation



List of space shuttle missions :




Space Shuttles


  • Enterprise (test)
  • Pathfinder (mock-up)
  • Columbia († 2003)
  • Challenger († 1986)
  • Discovery (op.)
  • Atlantis (op.)
  • Endeavour (op.)


  • Buran (2 mis.)
  • Ptichka (inc.)
  • Baikal (inc.)







External links



Orbiter Vehicles

Shuttle Orbiter Discovery (OV-103)

Track Discovery with Google Maps

 About the Site
Major Articles

Rockets Alphabetical
   Orbital LVs, Missiles
   Sounding Rockets, Families
   Stages - by Propellant
   Engines - Propellants
   Launch Sites

Spacecraft - Families
  by Mission, Manned

People - Alphabetical
  Astronaut Training Groups
  Manned Flights Program, Date
  Records and Statistics
  Phantom Cosmonauts

Programs, China, Soviet

 Today in Space History

 References, Links, Books


 Soviet LK Lunar Lander
What did the CIA know ?Soviet
The N1 Story - R-56

 R-56 Polyblock - SK-100

Saturn C1 to C8 - NOVA!
Lunar Spacecraft - Soviet
Soviet Lunar Projects
Soyuz L1 - Soyuz LOK

 LK-1 - LK-700
 L1, L2, L3, L4, L5

 L3M-70 and L3M-72
Lunar Spacecraft - USA
Project Horizon
Project Lunex
 GE Apollo
 Lunar Gemini
 Apollo Systems Diaries
 MOOSE & others..
Why Space?
 If the Sun Dies...
 Project Aelita to Mars
Maps of Secret Places
 Baikonur - Plesetsk
 Kapustin Yar - Svobodniy
Data Download
 Russian Engine Data
 Proton Story
 N Korean Rocket
Soviet Combat Spacecraft
 Soyuz-P - Soyuz-R
 Soyuz-VI - Soyuz-S
 Polyus - IS ASAT
 TKS Ferry - Almaz OPS
 Soviet Space Stations
 South African Launcher
Other Favorites
 Soyuz 1 - The Wrong Stuff
 Navaho - Burya
 Titan - Soyuz 7K-OK
 Progress - Dynasoar
 MOL - Progress M
 The Ultimate Saturn V's
 Saturn II's - Saturn I's















A taste for adventure capitalists



Solar Cola - a healthier alternative


This website is Copyright © 1999 & 2013  NJK.   The bird logo and name Solar Navigator are trademarks. All rights reserved.  All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged.       Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.