Shuttle Discovery heads toward its final landingMarch 8th, 2011 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer in Astronomy & Space / Space Exploration
In a frame grab made from NASA TV, space shuttle Discovery backs away from the the International Space Station after undocking for the last time Monday, March 7, 2011. Discovery is due back on Earth on Wednesday. It's being retired after touchdown and sent to the Smithsonian Institution for display. (AP Photo/NASA)
Space shuttle Discovery is on track for a Wednesday landing - its very last one.
Commander Steven Lindsey and his crew will test the shuttle's systems Tuesday morning. Then the six astronauts will hold a ceremony to mark Discovery's final flight.
Discovery, the world's most flown spaceship, departed from the International Space Station on Monday. It will wrap up its 13-day mission with a Florida touchdown, weather permitting.
Discovery now faces life as a museum display. It's the first of NASA's three space shuttles to be retired. NASA managers contend the fleet still has lots of flying lifetime left. But the agency is under presidential direction to aim for true outer space, which means giving up the shuttles, which are confined to orbit.
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"Shuttle Discovery heads toward its final landing." March 8th, 2011. http://phys.org/news/2011-03-shuttle-discovery.html