Space shuttle Discovery makes final flight

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The US space shuttle Discovery early April 17, 2012 atop NASA's 747 shuttle carrier aircraft as they head north passing over Kennedy Space Center, Florida for the final time.

Credit:

BRUCE WEAVER

After nearly three decades of space travel, NASA's oldest shuttle, Discovery, flew into retirement on Tuesday, joining other museum relics at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

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    The US space shuttle Discovery early April 17, 2012 atop NASA's 747 shuttle carrier aircraft as they head north passing over Kennedy Space Center, Florida for the final time.

    Credit:

    BRUCE WEAVER

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    The US space shuttle Discovery early April 17, 2012 atop NASA's 747 shuttle carrier aircraft as they take off at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The 747 with Discovery aboard is flying to Washington DC for display at the National Air and Space museum.

    Credit:

    BRUCE WEAVER

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    Space Shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a 747 shuttle carrier aircraft, flies by Washington Dulles International Airport during the final trip to its retirement place April 17, 2012 in Chantilly, Virginia. The longest-serving orbiter in the space shuttle fleet was flown from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Washington, DC area to be transferred to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and will be placed on display in the museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

    Credit:

    Alex Wong

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    Four-year-old Alex Mendez of Sterling, VA, wears a space shuttle costume while he waits with thousands of others for the arrival of the space shuttle Discovery at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center April 17, 2012 in Chantilly, Virginia. Hundreds of people arrived early in the morning to watch the arrival of the shuttle from the parking lot of the center.

    Credit:

    Chip Somodevilla

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    US space shuttle Discovery sitting atop NASA's 747 shuttle carrier aircraft flies over the National Mall in Washington, DC on April 17, 2012 as it arrives from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to be displayed at the National Air and Space museum near the US capital.

    Credit:

    NICHOLAS KAMM

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    School children on a tour watch as Space Shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a 747 shuttle carrier aircraft, flies over the U.S. Capitol during a flyover of the nation's capital on its final trip to its retirement place April 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. The longest-serving orbiter in the space shuttle fleet was flown from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Washington, DC area to be transferred to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

    Credit:

    Win McNamee

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    Space shuttle Discovery mounted atop a 747 shuttle carrier aircraft, flies by the Washington Monument during a flyover of the nation's capital on its final trip to its retirement place April 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. The longest-serving orbiter in the space shuttle fleet was flown from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Washington, DC area to be transferred to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

    Credit:

    Win McNamee

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    Space Shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a 747 shuttle carrier aircraft, flies over the U.S. Capitol during a flyover of the nation's capital on its final trip to its retirement place April 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. The longest-serving orbiter in the space shuttle fleet was flown from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Washington, DC area to be transferred to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

    Credit:

    Win McNamee

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    School children on a tour watch as space shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a 747 shuttle carrier aircraft, flies over the U.S. Capitol during a flyover of the nation's capital on its final trip to its retirement place April 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. The longest-serving orbiter in the space shuttle fleet was flown from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Washington, DC area to be transferred to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

    Credit:

    Win McNamee

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    The space shuttle Discovery rides atop a Boeing 747 as it flies past Washington, on April 17, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. The retired shuttle was traveling to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, where is will go on display.

    Credit:

    Mark Wilson