Discovery was NASA’s third space shuttle orbiter to join the fleet, arriving for the first time at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in November 1983.
Shuttle Discovery was named for several sailing ships used to explore the world. One of those sailing vessels used in the early 1600s by Henry Hudson explored Hudson Bay searching for a northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
NASA PHOTO: Discovery STS-31 lifts off with the Space Shuttle Columbia on Pad 39A. This was the first time since January 1986 that there was a Shuttle on each pad, which are separated by 1.6 miles. Discovery, carrying a five-member crew and the Hubble Space Telescope, lifted off at 8:34 a.m. EDT, April 24.
NASA PHOTO: Flyaround of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) after deployment on this second servicing mission (HST SM-02). Note the telescope’s open aperature door.
Hubble Telescope Deployment
Destined for exploring the heavens instead of the seas, it was only fitting that NASA’s Discovery carried the Hubble Space Telescope into space during mission STS-31 in April 1990, and provided both the second and third Hubble servicing missions (STS-82 in February 1997 and STS-103 in December 1999).
NASA PHOTO: The Space Shuttle Discovery completes the final Earth-bound portion of its journey into space, leaving the Vehicle Assembly Building on the slow trip to Launch Pad 39B. Discovery is scheduled to fly the first Shuttle mission of 1995, STS-63, in early February.