Museum the final frontier for down-to-earth Discovery
Published 10/03/2011 | 05:00
ONE of the most distinguished careers in the history of space travel ended yesterday when Discovery, the world's most-flown spaceship, came back to earth.
Having completed its last orbit, the shuttle is to become a museum piece.
After a flawless trip to the International Space Station, NASA's oldest shuttle swooped through a few wispy clouds on its way to its final touchdown in Cape Canaveral, Florida, US, yesterday.
"To the ship that has led the way time and time again, we say, 'Farewell Discovery'," said Mission Control commentator Josh Byerly.
Discovery took part in 39 missions, made 5,830 orbits of Earth, and spent 365 days in space. All of that was achieved in under 27 years.
Discovery now leads the way to retirement as NASA winds down the 30-year shuttle programme in favour of interplanetary travel.