The Space Shuttle Discovery completed its final flight today but the iconic NASA spacecraft didn’t venture into space. Instead, the Space Shuttle Discovery hopped on the back of a jumbo jet and took a spin around Washington D.C.
The Discovery, which completed 39 missions into space during its career with NASA, took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida this morning on top of a 747. The jet took a low and slow flight around Washington D.C. to give fans one last glimpse of the famous space plane before it landing at the Dulles International Airport in norther Virginia.
Tomorrow, the Discovery will be towed to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum annex near the airport.
USA Today reports that thousands of people came out to the National Mall to watch the Discovery’s final flight.
Sorena Sorenson, a geology curator at Smithsonian Institution who came out to watch the flyby, said:
“That’s fantastic. That’s wonderful. Look at that — you can see the name on it… This to me is just so bittersweet.”
Here’s a video of the Space Shuttle Discovery’s final flight.
The Space Shuttle Discovery first launched in 1984. It has completed 39 missions and has spent more than 365 entire days in space. The Discovery was NASA’s workhorse for over two decades and is responsible for many achievements. USA Today notes that the Discovery delivered the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit and was the first US ship to visit the Russian space station MIR.