Space Shuttle Discovery in the Vehicle Assembly Building
9 & 11 March 2012
A banner in the VAB covered in signatures from the many people who worked to put Discovery in space.
A view of Space Shuttle Discovery from the outside looking into High Bay #4 of the VAB. The work to turn Discovery into a museum exhibit is complete and now Discovery will wait here until mid-April when it will be flown on the back of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a 747 jet, to Washington, D.C. to go on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum. The cone covering the three Main Engines provides aerodynamic stability in flight while atop the 747 and will be removed upon arrival in Washington.
A view from inside the VAB looking out the open doors of High Bay #4. Discovery sits in silhouette while beyond, under Discovery's wing at right, can be seen Atlantis waiting to enter the OPF.
Discovery is complete in appearance as it was when it was flying missions into space though the vehicle is now no longer operational. The cockpit windows are covered to protect them until going on display at the Smithsonian.

Facts about Space Shuttle Discovery:
Total Distance Traveled: 148, 221,675 miles
Total Time in Space: 365 days
Total Orbits: 5,830
Total Flights: 39
Total # Crew Members: 252
Mir Dockings: 1
International Space Station Dockings: 13
Payload to ISS: 31,459 lbs


RIGHT: The future is also on display in the VAB. In the transfer aisle sits Orion Pad Abort 1. This mockup of the Orion capsule tested the Orion launch orbit system at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on 6 May 2010. The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle may eventually take astronauts back to the Moon, to near Earth asteroids, and to Mars after being blasted into space by the Space Shuttle's successor, the Space Launch System.


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