Posted by Lydia on February 4th, 2009
Ever wonder where the Shuttle Fleet Orbiters get their names? “Discovery” holds a long standing tradition in historical exploration. In 1610 the English navigator Henry Hudson explored what is now Hudson bay and discovered the Northwest passage through what is now known as the Hudson Strait to the Pacific. His ship? The Discovery.
James Cook, another talented English sailor of Scottish decent of Great Britain’s Royal Navy sailed on a ship called Endeavor. The Sister Ship was the Discovery. We should also mention that while in Tahiti he observed and documented Venus’s transit of the sun, calculations of which aided scientists to determine the distance from our planet to our sun. Cook’s Discovery.
Our Shuttle carrier Discovery carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit in April 1990 during mission STS-31 and provided service to Hubble during missions STS-82 in February 1997 and STS-103 in December 1999. Discovery’s first mission was on August 30, 1984 to deploy communications satellites. Safety modifications and upgrades were added in September 2002. Discovery’s next launch date will be around February 19, 2009 (stay tuned for updates!) with mission STS-119 delivering the last set of solar power arrays and truss segment to the International Space Station in preparation of a six member crew. Who will be the fortunate crew of seven to journey aboard Discovery? Commander Lee Archambault and Pilot Tony Antonelli will accompany Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson and Richard Arnold along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will replace Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus.Flight Engineer Wakata will return to Earth with the STS-127 crew scheduled in May 2009.