- Shuttle Discovery atop a NASA 747 just before takeoff this morning at Kennedy Space Center
The Space Shuttle Discovery's ride into history began just after sunrise this morning at the old shuttle landing facility at Kennedy Space Center. The celebrated workhorse of the space shuttle fleet made its last flight into the early morning Florida skies on top of a specially designed NASA 747 jumbo jet.
Shuttle Discovery entered service in 1983 and was launched on its first mission on Aug. 30,1984. It has several distinctions over the other shuttles: It was the first shuttle to fly after the loss of both Challenger and Columbia, and it was the shuttle that carried Senator John Glenn to the space station as the oldest American astronaut, at 77 years old, in October of 1998.
Discovery is the most flown shuttle, with 39 flights. Among other milestones, it carried and deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. Discovery last flew in space in March, 2011.
More pics after the jump.