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STS - 133

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Space shuttle Discovery  blasts off on its final flight Discovery, the world’s most travelled spaceship, thundered into orbit for the final time in the  month of February, 2011,  heading toward the International Space Station on a journey that marks the beginning of the end of the shuttle era. It was Discovery’s 39th launch and the 133rd shuttle mission overall.  Discovery is the oldest of NASA’s three surviving space shuttles and the first to be decommissioned this year. Two missions remain, first by Atlantis and then Endeavour, to end the 30-year program.  The closure of the shuttle programme will leave a gaping hole in the American space mission, forcing astronauts to rely on the Russian Soyuz space capsule for transport to the orbiting International Space Station. The six astronauts on board of the final flight of Discovery are- Steven Lindsey, Eric Boe, Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Steve Bowen and Nicole Stott. In its final launch, space shuttle Discovery will bring the first humanoid robot to the ISS. The Robonaut2 or R2 is a joint project of General Motors and NASA.  R2 became the full time crew member aboard the ISS. It is the first humanoid robot ever to be deployed in space.  Its primary job for now is teaching engineers how dexterous robots behave in space and through upgrades and advancements, it will be deployed to venture outside the International Space Station to help astronauts when spacewalking making repairs or when adding additions to the Space Station. Robonaut ‘R2’ will also at a later stage help astronauts and perform scientific work on its own.