Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2012 April 19
Image Credit & Copyright: Ben Cooper (Launch Photography) Explanation:
Climbing into cloudy skies, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery
(OV-103) took off from Kennedy Space Center Tuesday at 7 am local time. This time
, its final departure from KSC, it rode atop a modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
. Following a farewell flyover
of the Space Coast
, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Washington DC, Discovery headed for Dulles International Airport in Virginia, destined to reside
at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center. Discovery retires
as NASA’s most traveled shuttle orbiter
, covering more than 148 million miles in 39 missions that included the delivery of the Hubble Space Telescope
to orbit. Operational
from 1984 through 2011, Discovery spent a total of one year in space.
Tomorrow’s picture: southern skyview
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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.