This paper provides a high level summary of STIS, the space telescope imaging spectrograph, and describes the principle hurdles overcome during the servicing mission orbital verification in order to bring STIS to operational status as HST's optical and UV spectrograph. Also described are the approach taken to develop STIS for effective GO use and the approach taken to the on-orbit calibration of this complex and capable instrument. Lastly, we provide a description of the current operational and calibration status of STIS, including many recent results. STIS is performing extremely well as a science instrument. Monitoring projections suggest it should continue to operate effectively throughout its projected 13 year mission, barring unforeseen effects or complications.