Monday, December 19, 2011

NASA shuts down space shuttle Discovery for final time

By Robert Z. / December 19, 2011
KSC workers and media watch as the payload bay doors of shuttle Discovery are closed for the final time in the Orbiter Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. on Dec. 16. Discovery, which flew its 39th and final mission in March and is being processed for display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
Craig Bailey/Florida Today/AP

NASA powered down the space shuttle Discovery for a final time Friday (Dec. 16), more than 28 years after the agency's retired fleet leader first came alive. The vehicle was "unplugged" inside Orbiter Processing Facility-1 (OPF-1) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The electrical shutdown, which came soon after technicians closed the shuttle's twin 60-foot (18.3-meter) long payload bay doors, was a milestone in Discovery's transition from a space-worthy orbiter to a museum exhibit. The shuttle, the oldest of NASA's remaining orbiters, is destined for display next spring at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.



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