How About a 21-Gun Salute to the Old Girl?

Following space shuttle Discovery's piggy-back fly-past of Washington earlier today, Carlos posted the suggestion that Blogstronomy should be giving her a 21-gun salute.

Blogstronomy Towers lacks something in the way of armaments, however, so how about a 21-fact salute instead?

NASA's tribute to Discovery, including all 39 mission patches.
BLAM! Discovery's maiden mission began on August 30th 1984*. She launched two communications satellites.
Discovery lifting off in 1998

BLAM! She was in operation for twenty-seven years.

BLAM! Discovery flew 39 successful missions during this time.

BLAM! Discovery was named primarily after Captain James Cook's ship of the same name, which he commanded during his final major voyage between 1776 and 1779

BLAM! Discovery launched the Hubble Space Telescope (April 1990), as well as being the vehicle for HST's second (February 1997) and third (December 1999) service missions.

BLAM! Discovery's 28th mission was the 100th Space Shuttle mission and an International Space Station Assembly Flight.

BLAM! She flew thirteen missions focussing on the International Space Station, including resupply and crew rotation missions.

Discovery's first mission patch.
BLAM! In September 1988, Discovery flew the "return to flight" mission after 1986's Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

BLAM! In July 2005, Discovery was used for the "return to flight" mission following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster (which happened in 2003**).

Mission patch for STS-31. Guess what the mission was...
BLAM! In February 1994 Discovery flew the first Shuttle/Mir mission and carried the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard a space shuttle, Sergei K. Krikalev.

BLAM! In June 1998 Discovery flew the final Shuttle/Mir mission

BLAM! 1995's Mir rendezvous saw Discovery with the first female Shuttle pilot.

BLAM! In 1999, Discovery became the first Shuttle to dock with the International Space Station.

BLAM! Discovery flew more missions than any other Orbiter Shuttle.

BLAM! Discovery carried John Glen into space in 1998. He was 77 at the time, and this mission made him the oldest person ever to go into space.

Discovery's final mission patch.
BLAM! Discovery deployed a total of 31 satellites.

BLAM! In total, Discovery spent 365 days in space (and 22 hours, 39 minutes and 29 seconds).

BLAM! Discovery's final mission began on 24th February 2011 and involved taking a number of items to the International Space Station, including Robonaut 2.

BLAM! Her final mission ended on March 9th 2011, which marked the beginning of her decomissioning.

BLAM! Discovery was the first Space Shuttle to be retired.

BLAM! Discovery's flypast was en route to Virginia's National Air and Space Museum where she will be displayed for the foreseeable future.




* I wasn't yet 2!
** I remember following the news coverage of the Columbia disaster from the living room of my student house at university. It's one of those things that cause you to remember exactly where you were and what you were doing, no matter how mundane.

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