Cape Canaveral, Fla. -
The Space Shuttle Discovery will begin its final flight fitted atop a specially modified Boeing 747 on April 17, 2012 for its final voyage into retirement as it is flown from Cape Canaveral to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Following a flyby over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Brevard County beaches shortly after 7 a.m., it will land at Washington Dulles (IAD) airport at about 10 a.m.
Discovery first flew on August 30, 1994 as STS-49, and flew 39 missions in total, ending with STS-133 on Feb 24, 2011. In total, it has had 252 crew members, and operated for 365 days, 22 hours, 39 minutes, 29 seconds in total covering 148,221,675 miles.
Discovery has deployed 31 satellites including Hubble.
Discovery's contract to be built was awarded in 1979 to Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California.