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Shuttle Discovery's Last Launch Pad Trip

One Last Time

NASA/Jack Pfaller

Space shuttle Discovery is the oldest in NASA's fleet, but will be the first to retire after one final spaceflight. NASA pulled out all the stops Sept. 20, 2010, when Discovery made its last trip to the launch pad for its final flight. The shuttle is due to launch Nov. 1, 2010.

Ready to Roll

collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman

Inside NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building, space shuttle Discovery is readied for its final trip to its seaside launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was in this building that Discovery was attached to its twin solid rocket boosters and external tank.

Final Rollout

NASA/Jim Grossmann

Like a moving skyscraper, Discovery slowly makes its way toward Launch Pad 39A on Sept. 20, 2010 during its final rollout ahead of a Nov. 1 launch. Blazing white xenon lights lit the path for the towering shuttle and its Apollo-era crawler transporter. The move took hours to cover less than 4 miles

Bittersweet Move

SPACE.com

It's "a very momentous occasion for us, but also a very emotional one for a lot of folks," space shuttle Discovery vehicle flow manager Stephanie Stilson tells SPACE.com as the shuttle makes its last trip to the launch pad on Sept. 20, 2010. Discovery is visible in the upper right of this still image

Night of Passage

NASA

Space shuttle Discovery makes its nighttime trek from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Standing Tough Under Stars and Stripes

NASA

At Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the American flag stands next to space shuttle Discovery as the spacecraft makes the last leg of its journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A.

Morning has Broken

NASA

Space shuttle Discovery is attached to Launch Pad 39A as the sun rises over Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Day Breaks

NASA/Jack Pfaller

Space shuttle Discovery is attached to Launch Pad 39A as the sun rises over Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Hanging Tough

collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman

Engineers haul shuttle Discovery into position to meet its fuel tank and boosters for the shuttle's final mission in Nov. 2010.

You Keep Me Hangin' On

collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman

Before its last rollout, space shuttle Discovery is hoisted into position to be attached to its external tank and solid rocket boosters for its final launch into space on the STS-133 mission to the International Space Station.

Walk It Down

NASA

By the end of its career, space shuttle Discovery will have flown 39 space missions since its first flight in 1984. Over that time, countless dedicated engineers and technicians serviced the spacecraft. Here, Discovery's current team walks the shuttle out to the Vehicle Assembly Building to meet its fuel tank and rocket boosters on Sept. 9, 2010.

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