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.
FIRST LAUNCH: August 30th, 1984 - TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 148,221,675 miles
SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY
"As we are bringing our space ships closer together, we are bringing our nations closer together. The next time we approach, we will shake your hand and together we will lead our world into the next millennium." ~ Discovery Commander James Wetherbee
"We are one. We are human." ~ Mir 17 Commander Alexander Viktorenko
Dialogue between the Space Shuttle Discovery and Space Station Mir during the rendezvous of Mission STS-63
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.
📸 Space Shuttle Discovery Payload Bay Liner, pressed and neatly folded by Andrea.
MISSION-FLOWN PAYLOAD BAY LINER
As noted above, 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.
In addition to keeping things looking tidy, the payload bay liner also prevented possible dust cross-contamination between the Orbiter's systems from the cargo.
📸 Closeup of the fabric including stitching
"The Space Shuttle Program Payload Bay Payload User's Guide" (NSTS 2149) describes the payload bay and the liner as follows:
"The payload bay is, with a few exceptions, a smooth surface with filtered vents, lights, and flush-mounted wire trays. The standard configuration displays a patchwork of thermal control blankets in the lower half of the payload bay, and when required a liner of tightly woven Teflon-coated Beta Cloth is installed in 6-foot widths over the blankets to form a barrier between the payload bay and the equipment bay in the lower part of the mid fuselage. The liner covers almost 1500 square feet of the payload bay’s 3300 square feet of surface area."
NASA disposition paperwork received with this item indicates this particular piece of the payload liner was removed after Discovery’s mission to deploy numerous science instruments (STS-85), which flew on August 7, 1997.
📸 The Discovery specimen along with Jamie's special pen crafted from 5000 year-old bog wood. Why isn't it made of dinosaur bone, Jamie?
Each hand-cut specimen is housed in an acrylic jar and ships in a classic, glass-topped riker display case. Specimens measure roughly 1x1cm in size though variations may occur. As pictured, some specimens will have black seams while others will be completely white. A small information card is also included, which serves as the certificate of authenticity.
Front of the Specimen Card
Back of the Specimen Card
More about the Space Shuttle Program and Discovery (OV-103)
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.
📸 Discovery prepares to deploy the Hubble Telescope during STS-31 using the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm. (NASA Image STS031-71-09 April 25, 1990)
With a career that spanned nearly three decades from 1984 to 2011, the Space Shuttle Discovery accrued more space flights than any other craft in the program. Discovery orbited the Earth 5,830 times, traveling approximately 150 million miles. During its service, the Discovery carried the Hubble Telescope into orbit (STS-31) and took on the hundredth shuttle mission (STS-92).
The shuttle weighed about 170 thousand pounds, boasting a wingspan of about 80 feet and a length of about 120 feet. Today, the Discovery can be found at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Fairfax County, Virginia. Coincidentally, this is very close to Mini Museum HQ so the Discovery holds a special place in our hearts!
Above: Space Shuttle Discovery on display at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Source: Elliott Wolf, Wikimedia)
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