Wildlife experts cleared Discovery for takeoff after concluding the bat, which had latched itself to the shuttle's foam shielding, was seriously injured and would not survive long if rescued. So they gave it clearance to become the first batstronaut ... if only for a very short while.
Nasa, being Nasa:
The animal likely perished quickly during Discovery's climb into orbit.
Gizmodo's John Herman, being awesome:
Bereft of his ability to fly and with nowhere to go, a courageous bat climbed aboard our Discovery with stars in his weak little eyes. The launch commenced, and Spacebat trembled as his little mammalian body was gently pushed skyward. For the last time, he felt the primal joy of flight; for the first, the indescribable feeling of ascending toward his dream–a place far away from piercing screeches and crowded caves, stretching forever into fathomless blackness.
Whether he was consumed in the exhaust flames or frozen solid in the stratosphere is of no concern to us. We know that Spacebat died, but his dream will live on in all of us.
Next week's headline: "Astronauts aboard the International Space Station report mysterious guano deposits in coffee."
Update: An awful hand-drawn Spacebat "patch" can be yours at eBay.