Space shuttle Discovery soared around the Washington Monument and the White House in a salute to the nation’s capital Tuesday before landing for the last time near its new museum home.
The world’s most traveled spaceship took off at daybreak from Cape Canaveral, Fla., bolted to the top of its modified 747 jumbo jet for the trip.
Three hours later, the pair took a few spins around Washington — where normally no planes are allowed to fly — at an altitude of just 1,500-feet, before the retired shuttle was grounded for good.
It was the talk of the town all afternoon as workers throughout the city rushed to rooftops and tourists trained their cameras on the sky. Car accidents were reported as drivers craned to see the sight.
The duo touched down at Dulles Airport in northern Virginia. The Discovery will be towed a few miles away to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum annex, where its genius as a reusable rocket will be on display beginning Friday.
(WATCH the video below, or READ the AP story in USA Today)