A Proud History of Discovery

Celebrating the Shuttle’s 30th Anniversary


The Space Shuttle Discovery wasn’t the first shuttle to go into space when it rose into the Florida sky 30 years ago today—that distinction goes to the Columbia, which launched in April 1981. It was, however, the longest-tenured orbiter in NASA’s history, finding itself part of the agency’s most important missions since the Apollo program, from being the first to return to orbit after the pair of shuttle tragedies, to deploying the Hubble space telescope.

Here are some of the more notable numbers from Discovery’s long and storied record:


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