By The Raleigh Telegram
WASHINGTON DC – The Space Shuttle Discovery has made its final flight as it recently flew over Washington DC before its installation as an exhibit in the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum.
The final flight took place on Tuesday, April 17th when the Space shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, flew from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida to Washington DC. The flyover took place near the U.S. Capitol Building, the White House, and the Washington Monument. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has retired all of the space shuttles.
The Discovery is the only space shuttle that has flown into space that is currently on display. The Discovery space shuttle was delivered to the Washington Dulles International Airport to be included in the new display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steve F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is a separate hangar facility that contains larger aircraft that are too large for the main Air & Space Museum in downtown Washington DC.
According to NASA, the Discovery shuttle likely has traveled more miles than any other piloted vehicle in the history of mankind. NASA says Discovery, the first orbiter retired from NASA’s shuttle fleet, completed 39 missions, spent 365 days in space, orbited the Earth 5,830 times, and traveled 148,221,675 miles.
“NASA will transfer Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum to begin its new mission to commemorate past achievements in space and to educate and inspire future,” said the agency in media statements.
During the official transfer ceremony on April 19th, dignitaries such as former Senator John Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the earth and later flew on a space shuttle mission, were on hand to mark the important event. Glenn lamented the ending of the shuttle program, which he said was vital to research in space. ::
Article Posted: Monday, April 30th, 2012
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