Last month, the Discovery shuttle launched into space for the last time and yesterday, the historic space shuttle safely returned to earth after its 13 day mission came to an end.
Get more on the shuttle landing after the jump!
The Discovery shuttle landing is big news because the shuttle is retiring after a decorated 27-year flying career. As NASA’s oldest spaceship, the Discovery completed 39 missions and earned the title of the world’s most-traveled spaceship.
The shuttle landing also means the United States space program is one step closer to coming to an end. Two more planned launches remain–the Endeavour in April and Atlantis in June. While NASA isn’t sure what the future holds for the United States space program, one thing is for sure. Approximately 7,000 jobs will be lost at Kennedy Space Center due to cut funding.
The Discovery will always be remembered, though and once the craft is decommissioned, it’ll be turned into a museum piece. Ken Smith, a Boeing propulsion manager, shared his thoughts after the Discovery landing:
You’re sad to see her be retired, but at the same time, it’s really a pride thing. We got her back OK. It was a beautiful mission…We’ve got two more to fly.