Saturday, March 26, 2011
NASA is retiring Discovery this year. Nearly 30 years of reliable service to our astronauts, children’s imagination, sciences all around, implications to human anatomy in space, and so much more. Discovery has spent 365 days in space, made 5,830 orbits of earth, has traveled 148,221,665 miles, has gone through 39 sets of landing gear tires, and has flown 184 astronauts to space. In 1990, Discovery delivered the Hubble Telescope in to orbit, and 8 years later took retired Astronaut John Glenn age 77, one of the first space pioneers, back into the black one last time.
Discovery’s last 13 day mission consisted of, a new storage compartment 21’x15’, equipment platform, and the first humanoid robot, called ‘R2’, aka Robonaut 2. This final flight left the ISS (International Space Station), 97% complete with total mass weighing close to 1 million lbs. The Discovery left the International Space Station March 7, 2011 and made landfall at Cape Canaveral on March 20, 2011 for the last time. After our two remaining shuttles are retired, we will have only the Russian Soyuz to be our future taxi to the ISS at tremendous cost.
There may be hope however; companies like Space X (Winner of the X prize), Boeing, and Lockheed Martin are competing to build the latest and greatest upgrades for NASA and the general public for use in facilitating cargo, supplies, humans, and possibly tourists.