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T-10, 9 , 8 , 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 and Discovery was on its way to space for one last time, turning over a glorious chapter of space history.As mission control at the Kennedy Space Centre watched Discovery zoom off to the International Space Station, many took the opportunity to look back at the 352 days the spacecraft spent in space.It has flown to space more than any other craft. It was the first spacecraft to retrieve a satellite and bring it back to Earth. It has visited two space stations. It launched a telescope that has seen deeper in space and in time than ever before. And twice it has demonstrated the United States’ will to persevere following devastating tragedy, returning US to orbit following the two worst accidents in space history.¬†Although all five vehicles that have comprised NASA’s space shuttle fleet are unmatched in achievements, space shuttle Discovery is unique among the extraordinary.¬†Click on NEXT to know more about Discovery’s facts and feats…

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In February 2003, the world again mourned as shuttle Columbia and her crew were lost during re-entry. America resolved to continue the shuttle programme and again improve the safety of flight, and NASA again turned to Discovery to return the nation to space on mission STS-114 to the International Space Station. The mission, commanded by Eileen Collins, included new procedures to ensure the shuttle heat shield was in good condition for the trip home, among them a first of its kind “back flip” as Discovery approached the station to enable the station crew to capture high resolution imagery of the shuttle’s heat shield.

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