Space shuttle Discovery atop a 747 carrier jet departs the Kennedy Space Center, Tuesday, April 17, 2012, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Discovery is being transported to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. The shuttle has been a part of some memorable moments since making its debut in 1984 following shuttles Columbia and Challenger. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
The world's most traveled spaceship took its last flight on Tuesday. Riding on the back of a 747 jet, Discovery traveled from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to Chantilly, Va. The space shuttle will be installed this week in its new home — the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum annex near Dulles in Northern Virginia.
The shuttle has been a part of some memorable moments since making its debut in 1984 following shuttles Columbia and Challenger.
It dispatched the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990, flew the first shuttle rendezvous to Russia's Mir space station and carried the first female shuttle pilot in 1995. John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, got a second ride into space aboard Discovery in 1998.
Discovery got NASA flying again, in 1988 and 2005, following the Challenger and Columbia disasters. And it flew 13 times to the space station, more than any other craft. On its last trip last year, it delivered a new storage compartment packed with supplies and a humanoid robot.
The oldest surviving shuttle, Discovery holds the all-time record with 39 missions, 148 million miles, 5,830 orbits of Earth, and 365 days spent in space. All that was achieved in under 27 years.