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NASA transfers shuttle Discovery to museum

(Xinhua)

08:32, April 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. space agency NASA transferred Thursday space shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, where it will go on permanent display.

The title transfer, which was witnessed by more than two dozen astronauts who flew on Discovery over the course of its 39 missions and more than 365 days in space, kicked off a four-day festival celebrating the retired orbiter's induction into the national aerospace collection at the museum.

"Discovery has distinguished itself as the champion of America' s shuttle fleet. In its new home, it will shine as an American icon, educating and inspiring people of all ages for generations to come," said John Dailey, director of the museum. "The Museum is committed to teaching and inspiring youngsters, so that they will climb the ladder of academic success and choose professions that will help America be competitive and successful in the world of tomorrow."

The retired shuttle arrived in Washington Tuesday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, atop a specially outfitted Boeing 747 jumbo jet. It circled several Washington landmarks to the delight of onlookers before arriving at nearby Dulles Airport.

"Today, while we look back at Discovery's amazing legacy, I also want to look forward to what she and the shuttle fleet helped to make possible," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "As NASA transfers the shuttle orbiters to museums across the country, we are embarked on an exciting new space exploration journey."


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