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Space Shuttles Head for Final Destinations

Starting with Discovery, the decommissioned space shuttle fleet will go on display at museums around the country. John Matson reports

“And nose gear touchdown, and the end of a historic journey. And to the ship that has led the way time and time again, we say farewell, Discovery.” In 2011 space shuttle Discovery completed its final mission. But it still has one more trip to make.

On April 17th Discovery is scheduled to fly from Kennedy Space Center to Washington’s Dulles airport atop a modified NASA 747. The orbiter will then go on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar–Hazy Center, just south of the airport.

Discovery is the first of the fleet to head off to its retirement home. Later this year the shuttle Endeavour will fly west to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. And in 2013 Atlantis will roll across Kennedy Space Center to the visitor center there.

The prototype shuttle Enterprise is slated to head up to New York City from the Smithsonian, where it’s been since 1985. After landing at JFK, Enterprise will travel by barge to the Intrepid Museum, a decommissioned aircraft carrier on the Hudson River.

So even though the orbiters can no longer explore the final frontier, they will boldly go where no space shuttle has gone before.

—John Matson

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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