PHOTOS: Discovery's mission to deploy TDRS 4
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: December 25, 2011
NASA decommissioned an aging tracking and data relay satellite this month after it linked ground controllers with space shuttles, the International Space Station and launching rockets for more than 22 years, according to agency officials.
Launched by space shuttle Discovery in March 1989, the tracking satellite most recently served over the Atlantic Ocean, supporting the final shuttle flights and relaying data from rockets blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
These photos show the launch of Discovery on the STS-29 mission that deployed the TDRS 4 satellite. The collection also chronicles the release of the payload and the return of Discovery to a dawn landing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Discovery launched March 13, 1989, and returned to Earth five days later.
The crew was led by commander Michael Coats, who was joined by pilot John Blaha and mission specialists James Bagian, James Buchli and Robert Springer.
Photo credit: NASA