Space Shuttle

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.


Space Shuttle Discovery is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. Learn more about NASA's longest-serving orbiter.

About Space Shuttle Discovery

Explore Discovery on Google Arts & Culture

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.

Space Shuttle Discovery

K-12 Learning Resources

Explore the history of the the space shuttle program and the International Space Station through our online resources, videos, stories, and programs.

K-12 Resources

Discovery in 3D

Explore Discovery in 3D with this high resolution model created from 3D scans of the actual shuttle orbiter.

Discovery 3D

Moving Beyond Earth

Explore stories from the Museum's Moving Beyond Earth exhibition dedicated to the space shuttle program and the International Space Station.

Visit Moving Beyond Earth

Space Shuttle and Astronaut Videos

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.

Watch Videos