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

  • Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Wooden Troll, Violin Boat, River Mary

    Scenes from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, wildfires in Turkey and Russia, a spacecraft in Earth’s orbit, migrants crossing the Mediterranean, flooding in China, and much more

  • David Swanson / Reuters

    Photos of California’s Dixie Fire

    Scenes from the Golden State’s largest wildfire of 2021 so far

  • Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

    Tokyo 2020: Images From the First Weekend of the Olympics

    Scenes from the first few days of Olympic competition in Japan

  • Yuichi Yamazaki / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Hazy Harbor, Hot Horse, Rocket Billionaire

    Preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, flood damage in Germany, Eid al-Adha prayers in Senegal, a crowded nightclub in London, a windy day in Montevideo, and much more