It was an incredible moment for people of NASA and all those present at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA to watch the final approach of the space shuttle Discovery on the runway and landing for the last time after completing its 39th space mission, with Steven Lindsey at its control. From now on, this awesome machine will find a resting place in some museum and will become just another flying machine for the people to watch.
Discovery flew out of the earth’s orbit and flew quietly into the fathomless space for almost 27 years on 39 missions. As the six astronauts finally exited the space shuttle for the last time after a 13 days adventure in the space, the air around the shuttle with its engines finally switched off for ever was emotional, teary and sad. While for the people of NASA it was a great achievement to fly this machine for the last 27 years, it was difficult for many to control their tears to say goodbye to Discovery forever.
What did Discovery achieve, the time would tell. But the greatest feat this machine accomplished was the deploying of the Hubble Space Telescope. The April 1990 adventure provided the scientists and astronomers a great edge to gaze deep into the space, find new stars and milky-ways and provide some of the most spectacular photos of the space one could have never dreamt of before.
Although Discovery remained operational for 27 years, it actually spent complete one year on its 39 space missions or 365 days to be precise. It travelled 148 million miles and carried 246 astronauts on-board.
The year 2011 will also be the final year of the flying of space shuttles as the remaining two space shuttles Endeavour and Endeavour will also say good bye to the space later this year. With the grounding of the remaining two space shuttles, NASA’s 30 years space shuttle programme will also come to an end.
Video source: NASA