Following Tuesday's flyover of the nation's capitol, the space shuttle Discovery was welcomed today as the newest addition to the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
Fourteen of Discovery's 31 living commanders took part in the welcoming ceremony that included a nose-to-nose meeting of Discovery with the Enterprise and the formal document signing, transferring the space shuttle from NASA to the Smithsonian. Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves sang the national anthem and the U.S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, accompanied by the Marine Corps Color Guard, provided music for the event.
Speakers included: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough, National Air and Space Museum Director J.R. “Jack” Dailey, Former Sen. John Glenn and Chair of the Smithsonian Board of Regents France Córdova.
During the Discovery's 27 years of service, the 86-ton orbiter traveled 148,221,675 miles and carried 16 tons of cargo on 39 missions to the International Space Station and the Russian Mir space station, deploying 31 satellites and other items -- including the Hubble Space Telescope.