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Tue April 17, 2012
Space Shuttle Discovery Is On Its Last Flight
Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:51 am
After 148 million miles and 365 days in orbit, space shuttle Discovery has completed its final mission. This morning it traveled atop a jumbo jet from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in the Northern Virginian suburbs of Washington, D.C., landing at its new home just after 11 a.m. ET.
We kept an eye on the flight, which NASA webcasted here, and updated as the mission continued.
NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce had much more about Discovery's last trip, and those of the other now-retired shuttles, on All Things Considered.
Update at 12:05 p.m. ET. Talk About Being Excited:
Here's what it was like at Centreville Elementary School in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., when Discovery passed over this morning. As you'll see in the video, the children were quite excited.
Update at 11:05 a.m. ET: Discovery Has Landed.
Update at 10:25 a.m. ET. Heading For Its Final Landing:
NASA has turned the camera back on at Dulles International Airport, and Discovery looks to be headed for a landing shortly.
Update at 10:16 a.m. ET. Pass Number Two For Us:
Discovery looks to be doing a circle over the nation's capital. It just passed by our windows again. The sky is partly cloudy, by the way, but as she came past there were beautiful blue breaks in the clouds behind.
Update at 10:10 a.m. ET. We Saw It!
And we didn't even have to leave The Two-Way desk — Discovery just passed over Washington, D.C., again, heading over Capitol Hill, and we could see it out our third-floor window.
Update at 10:02 a.m. ET. Another Pass Over D.C.:
NPR's Craig Windham tells us Discovery is now coming back for another pass over the nation's capital. It's coming past the National Mall and bridges over the Potomac River to Virginia. Earlier, NPR's Patrick Cooper snapped a photo from our rooftop.
Update at 9:55 a.m. ET. Over D.C.:
NPR.org's Amy Morgan, who's on the roof at h.q. here in downtown Washington, says she just spotted Discovery coming over the nation's capital.
Update at 9:45 a.m. ET. A Dulles Fly-Over:
Discovery is flying past Dulles International Airport, where she'll be landing later, and looks to be heading east toward Washington, D.C.
Update at 9:37 a.m. ET. There She Is:
Discovery is now on NASA's webcast again it she approaches the D.C. area.
Update at 9:34 a.m. ET. Activity At Dulles:
A small NASA jet just took off from Dulles International Airport, presumably because Discovery is nearing the D.C. area and will be escorted on its approach.
Update at 9:20 a.m. ET. Ahead Of Schedule?
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says on its Twitter page that "we've learned the flight of the Space Shuttle is running about 30 minutes ahead of schedule into the DC area."
Update at 7:30 a.m. ET: NASA's webcast has switched to prerecorded pieces. We'll keep an eye on it to see if it goes back to live coverage as Discovery nears Washington, D.C.