To fulfill its variety of missions, the versatile space shuttle required crews with diverse skills and abilities, thus opening opportunities for scientists, engineers, women, and people of color to join a demographically diverse astronaut corps. The space shuttle democratized and internationalized human spaceflight. It enabled the growth of new disciplines in microgravity science—biological and physical sciences that explored the fundamental nature of anything in an environment without the dominant influence of gravity. The space shuttle made spaceflight seem a more routine, normal part of our nation’s activity. It enabled the United States and its partner nations to make near-Earth orbit a home and workplace. Learn more about the contributions of the shuttle program below.
About Space Shuttle Discovery
Space Shuttle Discovery is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. Learn more about NASA's longest-serving orbiter.
Space Shuttle Discovery
Tour Space Shuttle Discovery, hear from the astronauts who flew her, and learn more about the shuttle program through this exhibit on Google Arts & Culture.
Explore the history of the the space shuttle program and the International Space Station through our online resources, videos, stories, and programs.
Explore Discovery in 3D with this high resolution model created from 3D scans of the actual shuttle orbiter.
Visit Moving Beyond Earth
Explore stories from the Museum's Moving Beyond Earth exhibition dedicated to the space shuttle program and the International Space Station.
Watch the final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, fly around a 3D model of the International Space Station, and view talks with astronauts, experts, and more.