End of an era: NASA's Discovery comes home
Space shuttle Discovery touches down this morning after completing its final space flight
Computerworld - For the final time, NASA's space shuttle Discovery returned from a journey into space, safely touching down Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
After spending 365 days in orbit in multiple missions, Discovery landed at 11:57 a.m. EST. The shuttle, which first launched into space in August 1984, returned from its final rendezvous with the International Space Station.
With NASA in the process of retiring its shuttle fleet, this was Discovery's final mission. In 26-plus years of space flight, the shuttle craft has flown more than 5,304,000 miles, a NASA mission specialist said.
During the final space flight, the six-member crew delivered spare parts, supplies, experiments and a humanoid robot to the space station. NASA is trying to load the space station up with spare parts and supplies before the shuttles are officially out of commission later this year.
The robot, named Robonaut 2, or R2, is the space station's first humanoid robot. It's designed to help the astronauts living on the station do odd jobs, and one day even assist them with dangerous spacewalks.
This latest mission, which was extended a day to become a 12-day journey, was the 39th Discovery's career. Considered a "fleet leader," the craft returned the U.S. to space flight after the shuttles Challenger and Columbia accidents. It was also the shuttle that carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit, and it has since gone aloft twice so astronauts could maintain the telescope.
Discovery also was the first shuttle with a female pilot, Commander Eileen Collins.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Emerging Technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Aberdeen Group: Marketing Analytics for Manufacturing: Forging Customer Insights There are no recalls for poor marketing. Manufacturers need to get their customer intelligence and messaging right the first time. Learn how.
- Unlocking the Promise of Demand Sensing and Shaping through Big Data Analytics Many organizations have limited insight into big data. These limitations have significant opportunity costs and can have a negative effect on identifying and...
- The Brave New World of Customer-Centric Manufacturing The Unique Opportunity for Manufacturers to Better Understand their Consumers
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts