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Space shuttle Discovery heads back to Florida

September 20, 2009 | 11:57 am


The space shuttle Discovery left California’s Edwards Air Force Base this morning on its cross-country journey back to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.  The shuttle is being ferried back to Florida piggyback-style on a modified 747 known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

The plane will make several stops for refueling over the course of the 2,500-mile trip -- in Amarillo, Texas, today and at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana overnight before arriving in Florida on Monday.

Discovery and its crew of seven astronauts landed in California on Sept. 11 after a 14-day mission focusing on the assembly and maintenance of the International Space Station.

-- Maeve Reston

Photo: The space shuttle Discovery and its modified 747 carrier aircraft take off from Edwards Air Force Base on the first leg of the ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA