Discovery blasts into space for final mission

Former St. Marys resident Jenn Steele, along with numerous relatives including cousins Margie and Nick Fritz, Sara and Ray Shaffer and Christa Fritz-Gainar, all of St. Marys, were among those who witnessed the recent NASA Discovery space shuttle launch on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 at 4:53 p.m. The pristine weather provided for ideal viewing of the launch along central Florida's space coast, home to Kennedy Space Center. The Expedition 26 crew's 11-day mission includes two spacewalks in order to conduct maintenance work and install new components. While docking at the International Space Station, crews will replenish fresh supplies and deliver a new storage room, as well as Robonaut 2, or R2, the first human-like robot in space and a new permanent resident of the station.This was the largest crowd to date on hand to witness the 39th and final mission of the Discovery shuttle, which is the oldest surviving shuttle. It first launched on Aug. 30, 1984. Photo submitted by Ivan Corbin.