Space shuttle Discovery lands at new home near DC

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The space shuttle Discovery landed at Washington Dulles International Airport on Tuesday.

The world's most traveled spaceship landed after taking off from Cape Canaveral, and soaring around the Washington Monument and White House in a salute to the nation's capital.

Discovery rode on the back of a 747 jet and took a spin around Washington at an easy-to-spot 1,500 feet before it was grounded for good.

It will be towed on Thursday to its installation at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum annex near Dulles in northern Virginia.

Discovery flew nearly 149 million miles before retiring last year.

Tens of thousands of people stopped what they were doing to peer up and capture photos of the spacecraft circling the city on the back of a 747.

When it finally landed a Dulles airport, there was a round of applause.

"I am glad that it ends on a high note.  Discovery was in great shape when she landed so did the other birds.  This is the way you want to end a program," said astronaut Michael Barratt.

Barratt was on Discovery final spaceflight.  He was at the Kennedy Space Center to see it off.

Barratt said seeing it leave its home was harder than he thought.

 "When they came back and did the fly over the runway and then started north started away and disappeared, I was a little emotional, kind of a sign this was it," Barratt said.

The space center's director said it's going to a place where it will be preserved and cherished.

Discovery will become the most high-tech relic ever put in a museum.

There is a team of Kennedy Space Center workers at Dulles who will spend the next 48 hours working with cranes to carefully lift Discovery off the 747.

Visit Nasa.gov for live images of the shuttle at KSC.