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Space Shuttle Discovery - Flown Payload Bay Liner

Space Shuttle Discovery - Flown Payload Bay Liner

This specimen is a fragment from a mission-flown payload liner of the Discovery. Made of fire-resistant beta cloth, this material covered insulation and kept the payload area clean and pristine.

Above: A stylized view of NASA image ISS016-E-009765. Taken on November 5, 2007 during STS-120, Discovery drifts above the Earth after undocking from the International Space Station.

The Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103) accrued more space flights than any other craft in the program, orbiting the Earth 5,830 times and traveling approximately 150 million miles during its tenure. Among its many missions, the Discovery carried the Hubble Telescope into orbit (STS-31), which changed the way we look at the stars. Given the sheer number of missions, miles, and equipment carried, it's fitting that we share a section of the payload bay liner from this craft.

Above: Birdseye view of Discovery from Bay 3 of NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building. The Orbiter will soon begin its 4.2-mile journey via the crawlerway to Launch Pad 39B.(STS-121, May 19, 2006). (Source: NASA KSC-06PD0859)

NASA's Space Shuttle program delivered 133 successful missions during its three decades in operation, beginning with Columbia's inaugural launch in 1981 and concluding with Atlantis' final flight in 2011. Missions involved many vital tasks, such as maintaining the International Space Station, repairing the Hubble Space Telescope, and deploying satellites. Scientific experiments featured heavily in the rotation, using the reusable Spacelab developed by the ESA.

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