Cook also used Discovery to explore the coasts of southern Alaska and northwestern Canada. During the American Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin made a safe conduct request for the British vessel because of the scientific importance of its research.
Other famous ships have carried the name Discovery, including one used by Henry Hudson to explore Hudson Bay in Canada as well as search for what was hoped to be the northwest passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1610 and 1611. Another, based on whaling ship design, was used by the British Royal Geographical Society for an expedition to the North Pole in 1875. This organization then built another Discovery in 1901 to conduct its Antartic expedition that concluded in 1904. This ship still exists and is being preserved by the Society.
In the day-to-day world of Shuttle operations and processing, Space Shuttle orbiters go by a more prosaic designation. Discovery is commonly refered to as OV-103, for Orbiter Vehicle-103. Empty Weight was 151,419 lbs at rollout and 171,000 lbs with main engines installed.
Discovery underwent a nine-month Orbiter Maintenance Down Period (OMDP) in Palmdale California. The vehicle was outfitted with a 5th set of cryogenic tanks and an external airlock to support missions to the international Space Station. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 8/25/1995). Discovery departed Palmdale, CA, riding piggy-back on a modified Boeing 747 at 10:01am EDT 6/28/96 and arrived at KSC on 6/29/96. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/01/1996).