Discovery space shuttle moves to its final home
After a year of decommissioning, NASA's space shuttle Discovery will make her final flight, to Dulles International Airport — site of the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center — on the morning of April 17, weather permitting.
Discovery will be towed from NASA's 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Mate-Demate Device near the shuttle's runway.
The shuttle is bolted to three mounting struts on the Boeing 747.
The jumbo jet will carry the 83-ton Discovery to Dulles International Airport on the morning of April 17, weather permitting.
The tandem is scheduled to fly about 1,500 feet above the District and the region, between 10 and 11 a.m.
Upon arrival at Dulles, the two-day demate process will begin.
The shuttle will gently be lifted above the 747 with a sling attached to two cranes.
On April 19, Discovery will be towed into the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, where it will replace the prototype shuttle Enterprise.
Shuttle parts removed before the move
The shuttle the public sees in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is missing some parts, which were donated to NASA's next rocket and to research for the next-generation spacecraft.
SOURCE: NASA, Smithsonian, Brian Vastag. GRAPHIC: Emily Chow, Alberto Cuadra, Todd Lindeman and Sisi Wei - The Washington Post. Published April 13, 2012.
Workers from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida talk about Discovery and the shuttle program as the remaining vehicles are prepared to be displayed across the country.