The Space Shuttle Discovery will make its final airborne journey tomorrow. The storied spacecraft will be ferried on the back of a Boeing 747 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Dulles International Airport outside Washington DC. The plane’s final destination is the nearby Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Holy sadness.
The Discovery successfully launched for the last time a year ago, and it will be the first of NASA’s three space shuttles to land at its retirement home — the shuttles are all decommissioned since the United States ended its manned shuttle program. The Endeavour will be the next ship out. According to NPR, the shuttle will travel from Florida to the California Science Center in Los Angeles sometime later in the year. Then, in November, the final ship, Atlantis, will be installed in Kennedy Space Center’s visitor centre.
It’s nice that all the ships will be on display for the general public, but we can’t help a feeling of sadness every time we read one of these stories about the end of the shuttle program. [NASA via NPR]