May 2012

The Space Shuttle Discovery Makes Its Final Voyage

Space Shuttle Discovery Over Washington, D.C.Space Shuttle Discovery Over Washington, D.C.

Space Shuttle Discovery Over Washington, D.C.
The space shuttle Discovery flew over Washington, D.C., on top of a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

On April 17, 2012, the space shuttle Discovery made its final flight. Over many years, Discovery made 39 trips into space. The last one was in March 2011. This time, Discovery was not launched into space. It rode piggyback on top of a special jet. The jet took the shuttle to its new home at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Now people from all over the world can see the shuttle up close and learn more about the Space Shuttle Program. Discovery can be seen at the museum’s annex, or extra building, in northern Virginia.

Discovery began its jet ride at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Many people stood on beaches and watched the shuttle leave. As the shuttle made its trip to Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport, the jet plane flew low. That way people could see the shuttle as it flew over the United States Capitol, the White House, and other famous sites in Washington, D.C. People clapped and cheered as they watched Discovery fly overhead. They also took photographs and videos. The Smithsonian invited people to use a special website to share the photos they have taken of Discovery over the years.

Discovery’s time at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum started with a four-day celebration called Welcome Discovery. The second day of the celebration was called Student Discovery Day. On that day, kids learned about how people train to become astronauts.

Image credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

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Question 1
Where will Discovery be displayed?

Question 2
How many trips did Discovery make into space?

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