Discoverys Last Landing

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 3:52pm

Space Shuttle Discovery touches down for the final time.

Space Shuttle Discovery touched down at Kennedy Space Center just before noon Wednesday, a perfect landing to wrap up a historic career in space.

Discovery has now flown nearly 150 million miles, spending a total of 365 days in orbit.

During yesterday's final day full day in orbit Mission Commander Steve Lindsey voiced the feelings of many who who don't want the space program to end.

"After we land that will be the time when we will reflect, and I suspect sitting on the runway I'll be sitting in my seat when we do the last switch throw, and it's time for me to get out and I don't think I am going to want to leave my seat," he said.

Discovery first flew into space in 1984 and over the next 27 years would log many historic milestones.

It is the shuttle that first carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit, the shuttle that last rendezvoused with the Mir Space Station and helped build the new International Space Station.

Discovery is the shuttle chosen to return nasa to space after the Challenger disaster and the Columbia accident.

Her final crew was acutely aware of their place in history.

"When we bring Discovery home it's a time to celebrate," said Mission Specialist Mike Barratt. "The legacy that this space ship has made for herself is just nothing more than cause for celebration."

Discovery's next trip after a decommissioning process is expected to be to Washington D.C., where it will become part of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum collection.

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