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This morning, the Space Shuttle Discovery touched down from its final flight – a journey from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Washington, DC. Discovery will eventually be on display at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center near the Dulles airport.
Chandra's own Roger Brissenden was on hand in Washington, DC, for today's event. Chandra has connections to this event on both the NASA and the Smithsonian sides.
Chandra is, of course, one of NASA's Great Observatories – its flagship mission for X-ray astronomy. We also have a link to the Shuttle program itself. In 1999, Chandra was launched aboard Discovery's sister Space Shuttle, Columbia, which was tragically lost in 2003.
On the other hand, Chandra is also part of the Smithsonian family. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory – located in Cambridge, Mass. – controls Chandra's science and flight operations. Many of the people involved with designing, building, and using Chandra are, in fact, Smithsonian employees.
From his vantage point, Roger was able to snap these excellent photos of Discovery being welcomed home on its last flight aboard a modified Boeing 747. Congratulations to everyone involved and we look forward to seeing Discovery in her final home at the Smithsonian.