It’s the end of an era. For 29 years space shuttle Discovery has been leaving Kennedy Space Center on solid rocket boosters and her own engines. Now she’s left for the final time on top of a modified Boeing 747, known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, to head to her new, final home at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C. Discovery departed Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at daybreak on April 17, 2012. The duo took one last flyover flight over the beaches of Cape Canaveral. A similar flyover is planned over the nation’s capital when they arrive later today. We have images of the event from Universe Today photographer, as well as former shuttle technician Jen Scheer (@flyingjenny) — thanks to Jen for sharing her images of Discovery’s departure. See more below from Mike and Jen (you can also visit Jen’s Flickr page). The video below was taken by Andy Scheer, another shuttle technician.
Discovery is the first of the three remaining space shuttles to head to a museum. The shuttle prototype, Enterprise that is currently at the Air & Space museum will go to New York City’s Intrepid Museum. Endeavour will go to Los Angeles this fall, while Atlantis will remain at KSC.
This video was taken on the beach in Cape Canaveral: