Saturday, 17 December 2011

NASA discontinues Discovery Space Shuttle after an eventful 28-year run

The Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum located in a Washington D.C. suburb will soon have a new resident - Space Shuttle Discovery. After completing an eventful 28-year run, the Space Shuttle was powered off for the final time, yesterday, confirms a report in National Geographic.
Bye, bye Discovery! (Image source: The Hindu)
Bye, bye Discovery! (Image source: The Hindu)

Discovery, like Atlantis, one of NASA's previously decommissioned space shuttles has been the champion of NASA's grand space shuttle program, and had once ferried the Hubble Space Telescope to space and 20 other satellites to space. Now, with the Discovery being powered off, and Atlantis adorning a museum, NASA's space shuttle program has truly come to an end. Inside NASA's Orbiter Processing Facility-1 (OPF-1) at the Kennedy Space Center, the payload bay doors of Discovery were shut for the last time. After the doors were locked down, Discovery was unplugged, thereby powering it off.

The post further stated that, "To latch and secure the doors completely, Discovery had to be powered up, a process far more complicated than plugging her in or turning a key. The shuttle’s power comes from fuel cells, and as computers come online, an intricate system of radiators cools the electronics just as they would in space. In the forward crew module, a circulating water system does the work. Elsewhere and away from the astronauts, the more hazardous but efficient freon is used. When powered down, those and all other remaining liquids are drained from her systems."

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