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See Space Shuttle Discovery in Google Virtual Tour

Space shuttle Discovery 1 photo
Photo: NASA
It’s been a little over seven years since space shuttle Discovery landed for the last time. It was the first of the three American space shuttles to be retired and its final landing marked a prolonged absence of American-built machines in space.
As a means to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the shuttle's first launch on August 30, 1984, Google’s Arts & Culture decided to give the world a 360 degrees virtual tour of the machine, in 8K.

Accompanying the viewers in their Discovery are the members of the STS-31 mission, the ones that helped put the Hubble telescope into space in 1990: Maj Gen Charlie Bolden and Dr. Kathy Sullivan.

The Discovery now rests at the National Air and Space Museum, where it can be visited by all those interested. Those who cannot make it there can now see the shuttle as they’ve never seen it before, from the inside, in the video attached below,

During its active years, the Discovery flew 38 missions, traveling 5,830 times around the Earth and a total of 148 million miles (238.2 million km). All the missions amount to a total of one year spent in space, and a few unique feats were achieved.

For instance, Senator Jake Garn (R–Utah) became the first incumbent US congressman to fly into space aboard the Discovery. The space shuttle also carried the first Russian to reach space into an American vehicle, Sergei Krikalev, and the oldest man into space, John Glenn.

Discovery will remain in history as the first spaceship that has docked with the International Space Station.

As for its name, it has been chosen in honor of sea-worthy vessels that wore that name over the ages.

NASA says the Discovery is a tribute to Henry Hudson and his 1600 ship, James Cook's vessel of the 1770s, or to the two British Royal Geographical Society ships that went on expeditions to the North Pole and the Antarctic (HMS Discovery and RRS Discovery).

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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