Space shuttle Discovery’s last flight was yesterday, ending an era in American space flight. The vehicle’s retirement is paving the way for new developments in the space frontier, however, and with the fleet now out of commission, NASA can concentrate on International Space Station missions and development of the next generation of American space vehicles.
As for the current fleet, select spacecraft will be retired to museums around the planet, including the Smithsonian in Washington DC and any number of air and space museums scattered across the nation. According to yesterday morning’s Morning Edition on NPR, there is actually a bit of competition for the available shuttles, with several museums building massive new facilities and plans before even being promised the equipment.
Either way, the pollination of the craft throughout the nation means that tourists will soon have a new site to behold on their air and space vacations. We’re already looking forward to the new round of spacecraft designs.