Track the space shuttle Discovery as it takes its final flight
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Created April 11, 2012 by
Space to Smithsonian: The shuttle's final journey

On April 17, space shuttle Discovery will make a final flight to its new home: the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum just outside Washington, D.C. Join CNN, NASA and the Smithsonian in documenting the shuttle's last flight and its arrival at the air and space museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, where it will transition from explorer to educator.


The shuttle will ride on top of a modified 747 jet from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Dulles airport in Virginia, just outside Washington. If you're an aircraft or space aficionado in the southeastern U.S., your assignment is this: Head outside on the morning of April 17 and see if you can spot the shuttle. Shoot a photo or video and upload it above. Let's see if we can track the shuttle all the way from Florida to D.C.!


Here's what you need to know: The shuttle will take off from Kennedy Space Center at dawn on April 17 (approximately 7 a.m. ET), weather permitting. It will fly over the KSC visitor center, Patrick Air Force Base, and the Space Coast beaches before making its way up the coast. Between 10 and 11 a.m., NASA plans to have the shuttle fly over Washington, D.C., including several major landmarks, before it lands at Dulles airport for transfer to the museum. The 747 and shuttle will fly quite low throughout the entire journey, so they should be visible the whole time if weather conditions are good. And if you're in the D.C. area, the Smithsonian has some tips for you on the best places to spot the shuttle. Discovery will officially join the Smithsonian's collection at a public ceremony at the museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, on April 19, and we'd love to see your photos from that event, too.


The best photos from the shuttle's journey to the Smithsonian will be featured on as well as NASA and the museum's social media feeds. Good luck spotting the shuttle!


UPDATE: This assignment is now closed, and we've plotted your best photos and videos on a map! Check it out on

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