The Space Shuttle Discovery will be making its final flight tomorrow morning, but the legendary spacecraft won’t be leaving the atmosphere. The NASA space plane will get a piggyback ride from a jumbo jet as it’s transported for storage at the Smithsonian.
Space.com reports that Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled to leave NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the final time tomorrow morning aboard a Boeing 747 jet. The shuttle will arrive in Washington, D.C., and will then be transported on Thursday to a museum hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which is part of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
The Discovery spent approximately 365 total days in space. It made 39 spaceflights, the last of which came in March 2011 as NASA ended its 30-year shuttle program.
Stephanie Stilson, who has been working with the Discovery for more than a decade, said:
“I think the vehicle itself and its capability is so impressive… It can launch in the vertical and land on the horizontal; it’s able to dock with the International Space Station. So many great things have happened that it’s going to be remembered for, and the Smithsonian and other locations will do a good job of telling people about that.”
According to Space.com, fans of the Discovery may be able to catch one final glimpse of it tomorrow during it’s flight. NASA will be taking the shuttle on a low air tour over the National Mall, Reagan National Airport and the National Harbor.