For a while, in the spring of 2000, Columbia was a ship without a mission. Then, just like the archetypal British bus, not one, but two suddenly turned up. One was a 16-day scientific research mission using a brand-new laboratory module, the other a much-needed servicing of NASA’s coveted Hubble Space Telescope. After that, the missions for the venerable old workhorse dried up. It seemed that Columbia — once the pride of the Shuttle fleet, a veteran of 26 spaceflights — would end her days ignominiously in a hangar with a whimper rather than a bang, to be cannibalised for parts.
KeywordsInternational Space Station Hubble Space Telescope Solar Array Uncertain Future Service Mission
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