In this image provided by NASA, the Space Shuttle Discovery is seen from the International Space Station as the two orbital spacecraft accomplish their relative separation on March 7, after an aggregate of 12 astronauts and cosmonauts worked together for over a week. The area below is the southwestern coast of Morocco in the northern Atlantic.
For 30 years, the space shuttle launch has served as the centerpiece of the US space program. But Feb. 24 will mark the last shuttle launch of Discovery, with the final flight of Endeavour to follow in April and – if there's enough money – Atlantis's last flight of the entire program in June. Here are five questions about what the shuttles have – and haven't – accomplished.
A float depicting President Obama with his hat topped off by a man dressed as AlQaeda leader Osama bin Laden, entitled 'Barack-Adabra and the Great Circus of the Fleas' is shown at the traditional carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy, Sunday.
Dextre, the Canadian Space Agency's robotic 'handyman,' is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 26 crew member aboard the International Space Station on Feb. 3. Dextre completed its first real job since the robot passed its final exam in December 2010, unpacking two critical pieces of equipment delivered by the unpiloted Japanese Kounotori2 H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV2) spacecraft .
Astronaut Alan B. Shepard is hoisted aboard a US Marine helicopter after splashdown of his 'Freedom 7' Mercury space capsule in 1961.
Over Earth's colorful horizon, the silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour is featured in this photo by an Expedition 22 crew member on board the International Space Station, as the shuttle approached for its docking on February 9, 2010 during the STS-130 mission.
NASA says engineers have solved the mystery of cracks that formed in structural supports outside the external fuel tank. Shuttle Discovery's final mission could be as soon as Feb. 24.
Billows of smoke and steam infused with the fiery light from space shuttle Endeavour's launch on the STS-127 mission fill NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A on July 15, 2009.
The next launch opportunity for the space shuttle appears to be Feb. 27, but it may be possible to move that up by a few days.
After months of repairs, inspections, and more repairs, NASA technicians have a new crop of cracks on the fuel tank of the shuttle Discovery to keep them busy over New Year's weekend.