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International Space Station Group Photo
February 21, 2011
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Discovery is the oldest operational shuttle in NASA's fleet. Since its first mission in 1984, Discovery has had a storied career. It launched the Hubble telescope, was the first American spacecraft to launch with a Russian cosmonaut, helped build the International Space Station, flew NASA's 100th space shuttle mission and was the first to return to space after both the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters.

Later this year, NASA will retire its aging fleet, ending the shuttle program to focus on building the next generation of space exploration vehicles. But before that, Discovery will be given one more unique mission. Near the end of this month, if all goes well, it will dock at the International Space Station. Also docked at the station will be vehicles and crews from the Russian, Japanese and European space agencies - a first. NASA might even be willing to send some astronauts out in one of the station's Soyuz capsules to take a picture of this unique configuration. The space station is an incredible feat of science, engineering and international cooperation. Let's hope all those astronauts celebrate that, by studying the affects of alcohol in space.


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