Space Shuttle Discovery Orbiter Wood Model
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In 1984, Discovery became the third operational orbiter following Columbia and Challenger, and made its final touchdown at Kennedy Space Centeron March 9, 2011 at 10:57:17 CST, having spent a cumulative total of one full year (365 days) in space. Discovery has performed both research andInternational Space Station (ISS) assembly missions. Discovery also flew the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. Discovery was the first operational shuttle to be retired, followed by Endeavour and Atlantis. The spacecraft takes its name from four British ships of exploration named Discovery, primarily HMS Discovery, one of the ships commanded by Captain James Cook during his third and final major voyage from 1776 to 1779. Discovery was the shuttle that launched the Hubble Space Telescope. The second and third Hubble service missions were also conducted by Discovery. It has also launched the Ulysses probe and three TDRS satellites. Discovery had been twice chosen as the "Return To Flight" Orbiter, first in 1988 after the 1986 Challenger disaster, and then for the twin "Return To Flight" missions in July 2005 and July 2006 after the 2003 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 person to go into space. Had the planned STS-62-A mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1986 for the United States Department of Defense gone ahead, Discovery would have flown it. Its final mission, STS-133, landed on March 9, 2011, in Kennedy Space Center, Florida. After decommissioning and delivery, the spacecraft is displayed in Virginia at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, an annex of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.