Space Shuttle Discovery's Final Launch

In less than two hours, NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to make its last trip into low Earth orbit. Discovery will be traveling to the International Space Station, carrying a large module packed with supplies and critical spare parts, as well as a robotic assistant named Robonaut 2. With the entire Space Shuttle program scheduled for mandatory retirement this year, Discovery is the most-flown spacecraft in history, traveling 143 million miles (230 million kilometers) over the course of its 39 missions since 1984, and spending nearly a full year in orbit. Gathered here are images of Discovery, its crew, and support staff from the past several months, while the spacecraft was being prepared for today's launch. This mission, STS-133, is scheduled for liftoff at 4:50 p.m Eastern Time.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Fabio Saltarelli / TNC Photo Contest 2022

    Winners of the 2022 Nature Conservancy Photo Contest

    Some of the top images from a competition focusing on our climate and the natural world

  • Josep Lago / AFP / Getty

    Competing to Build the Tallest Human Towers in Spain

    Images of large teams working together to form human towers up to 10 tiers high

  • Robert F. Bukaty / AP

    Photos of the Week: Covered Ears, White Night, Target Asteroid

    Fog over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, storm damage in Florida and the Philippines, fighting over retaken territory in Ukraine, Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, and much more

  • Giorgio Viera / AFP / Getty

    Early Photos of Hurricane Ian’s Landfall in Florida

    Images from southwest Florida, showing some of the destruction caused by this unusually intense storm