Space shuttle Discovery soars into orbit at 17,500 miles per hour atop twin columns of fire, embarking on its final scheduled mission, STS-133, to the International Space Station. Liftoff from launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida occurred at 4:53 p.m. EST on Feb. 24.
Discovery and its six-member crew are on a mission to deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module, packed with supplies and critical spare parts, as well as Robonaut 2, the dexterous humanoid astronaut helper, to the International Space Station. Discovery is making its 39th mission and is scheduled to be retired following STS-133. This is the 133rd Space Shuttle Program mission, the 35th shuttle voyage to the space station and Discovery's final mission. For more information on the STS-133 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts133/. Photo credit: NASA/Kenny Allen