On April 12, NASA, which is phasing out the 30-year Space Shuttle Program, announced that the Space Shuttle Discovery would become part of the permanent collection of aviation and aerospace memorabilia at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). Shuttle Discovery completed 39 missions during its 27-year career, including 13 flights to the International Space Station, and was the shuttle in which Frederick Gregory, the first African-American commander of a space flight, and Eileen Collins, the first female pilot of a spacecraft, completed their historic missions. Space Shuttle Discovery spent a total of 365 days in space.
Discovery, which was the longest serving shuttle in the space flight program, will be housed in NASM’s satellite museum, the National Air and Space Museum at Dulles (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center). Highlights in the Udvar-Hazy Center include the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and the Enola Gay.
Three other space shuttles will be retired to museums around the country. The Enterprise, which has been one of the main attractions of the Udvar-Hazy Museum since its opening in 2003, will be relocated to the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in Manhattan. Space Shuttle Endeavor, which will be retired after its final mission at the end of April, will be sent to the California Science Center. Finally, the Space Shuttle Atlantis will find a home in the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor’s Complex near Orlando, Florida.
Image courtesy National Air and Space Museum