FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2012
1524 GMT (11:24 a.m. EDT)
Today's trek lasted 1 hour and 43 minutes from takeoff to touchdown.
1522 GMT (11:22 a.m. EDT)
TOUCHDOWN. The prototype shuttle Enterprise has arrived at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City for unloading and an upcoming barge ride in June to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
1520 GMT (11:20 a.m. EDT)
Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is lined up on final approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport's Runway 31L, a nearly three-mile-long strip for landing. The gear has been deployed.
1511 GMT (11:11 a.m. EDT)
Wrapping up these ceremonial flyovers, Enterprise just buzzed the JFK runway. Landing will be occurring shortly.
1431 GMT (10:31 a.m. EDT)
Heads-up to the Big Apple, here comes Enterprise! The low-altitude flyover to welcome the space shuttle to her new home in the nation's largest city has begun.
1339 GMT (9:39 a.m. EDT)
TAKEOFF. The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, under the control of pilot Bill Rieke, has departed Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia for this morning's ferryflight of Enterprise up to New York City. Flyovers of the city are planned before landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
1339 GMT (9:39 a.m. EDT)
NASA 905 is rolling!
1330 GMT (9:30 a.m. EDT)
After 27 years sitting on the ground at Dulles, the shuttle Enterprise is moments away from taking flight atop the 747 carrier aircraft one more time.
1325 GMT (9:25 a.m. EDT)
If you wish to watch Enterprise take off, CNN is providing a live stream.
1324 GMT (9:24 a.m. EDT)
The aircraft is taxiing away from the dedicated ramp where Discovery was removed and Enterprise was hoisted atop the 747 to the runway for this morning's departure.
1305 GMT (9:05 a.m. EDT)
Officials report Enterprise will be using Runway 30 today at Dulles and taking off to the west.
1259 GMT (8:59 a.m. EDT)
Engine start on the 747 has been reported by NASA.
1230 GMT (8:30 a.m. EDT)
It is moving day for the space shuttle Enterprise, piggyback-style atop the same modified Boeing 747 that launched the vehicle on captive and a series of free-flight landing tests in the 1970s.

The advertised window for today's trek from Dulles to JFK is 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. EDT.

We'll post updates as information becomes available.

Weather forecasters are predicting windy but acceptable conditions to transport the space shuttle Enterprise atop the modified Boeing 747 aircraft from Northern Virginia to New York City on Friday morning, with low-altitude flybys of the Big Apple planned for landing at JFK.
Weather conditions have again postponed the ferryflight of space shuttle Enterprise to New York City, delaying the trip until at least Friday.

The concern about moisture embedded in clouds prompted officials to cancel plans to conduct the trip on Wednesday, a decision that was made after a weather briefing this morning.

Meteorologists hope Friday's weather will be more stable after a frontal system passes through the region.

Enterprise is being delivered to the John F. Kennedy International Airport where the prototype shuttle will be readied to take a long barge ride to reach the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on the Hudson River in June.

MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012
If the weather cooperates as forecasters expect, the space shuttle Enterprise will take her piggyback ferryflight ride from Dulles International Airport outside the nation's capital to the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on Wednesday morning.

Officials held the Ferryflight Readiness Review today and set Wednesday as the target date, weather permitting. The next briefing on weather conditions will be conducted Tuesday morning.

"A large region of low pressure dominating the East Coast has made it difficult to reliably predict an acceptable day for the flight," NASA said.

The exact route and timing for the ferryflight will depend on weather and operational considerations. Officials say the trip will occur between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. EDT.

SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2012
A ferryflight readiness review will be held Monday at 1 p.m. EDT to assess the status of preparations and the weather outlook before setting an official target date for Enterprise's delivery.

Space shuttle officials say Wednesday is the soonest that Enterprise will make her ferryflight from Dulles to New York City, based on the projected weather conditions for the trip.

Meteorologists expect a low pressure system bringing low clouds and rain on the East Coast will prevent the flight from occurring before Wednesday.

FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012
1955 GMT (3:55 p.m. EDT)
A crummy weather outlook has forced a change in plans for shuttle Enterprise's ferryflight from Virginia to New York City, originally planned for Monday morning.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum just announced on Twitter that delivery to NYC's John F. Kennedy International Airport has been postponed. A new date has not yet been set.

We'll post more details when they become available.

1325 GMT (9:25 a.m. EDT)
For the first time in more than a quarter-century, the prototype orbiter Enterprise has been hoisted atop the space shuttle carrier aircraft for another piggyback-style ferryflight, this one bound for her new home in New York City.

Working through the overnight hours for the second straight day, taking advantage of calmer nighttime winds, the shuttle ground team used the same mobile crane system to put Enterprise atop the 747 as used the previous day for removing Discovery.

Enterprise left the Smithsonian early Thursday and remained parked outside for the ceremonial induction of Discovery. By late evening, she was towed to the shuttle program's dedicated work area at the Dulles International Airport.

The bright yellow lifting sling had been attached to Enterprise by midnight, allowing the vehicle to be raised off the ground slightly for retraction of the landing gear.

The modified Boeing 747 was towed beneath the shuttle and the crane contraption lowered Enterprise onto the three connecting struts of the aircraft. The initial stage of capture -- known as "soft mate" -- was completed by 4 a.m. with no issues reported.

The lifting sling let go of the shuttle just before 6 a.m. and the 747 moved out of the mobile crane setup and into a nearby parking spot by 6:45 a.m., NASA said.

Technicians on Saturday will finish torquing the bolts to form a "hard mate" and structurally secure Enterprise piggyback atop the carrier jet for the ferryflight.

Plans call for that ferry from Dulles to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to occur Monday between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. EDT. But the team will be watching the weather and receiving daily updates on the forecast.

The most-flown spaceship in human history, sailing on 39 voyages to deploy and retrieve satellites, open a new window on the universe by launching the Hubble Space Telescope and help to construct the International Space Station, the shuttle orbiter Discovery reached her final resting place today at the Smithsonian.

Read our full story.

Our photo galleries from today:

1645 GMT (12:45 p.m. EDT)
From NASA Administrator Bolden's speech today:

"Shuttle showed us that Earth orbit could be an extension of our human biosphere, a place where we could live and work, ultimately they helped us construct the International Space Station, where astronauts have lived and worked continuously for more than 11 years now, performing hundreds of experiments that help improve life on Earth and set the stage for exploration to farther destinations. Without the shuttle, there would be no station. And now that unique orbiting laboratory will be our stepping stone to the rest of the solar system.

"As NASA retired the shuttle fleet, we're transitioning to a new era of exploration with technology development at the forefront to help us reach higher and leave future generations with greater capabilities. Today, we turn Discovery over to the Smithsonian with great expectation that as we have always done NASA will continue to inspire the young people of today and tomorrow to dream of space, to dream of uncovering the secrets of the universe and take steps to pursue the careers that will make them the exploration leaders of tomorrow.

"The hope that we leave with you today is that this magnificent flying machine that carried more people to space than any vehicle ever before will be a testament, not only to overcoming the human and technological obstacles of the day, but a tangible example that our dreams of exploration, of reaching our higher potential are always within reach if we stretch for them."

1610 GMT (12:10 p.m. EDT)
"Today, while we look back at Discovery's amazing legacy, I also want to look forward to what she and the shuttle fleet helped to make possible," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

"As NASA transfers the shuttle orbiters to museums across the country, we are embarked on an exciting new space exploration journey. Relying on American ingenuity and know-how, NASA is partnering with private industry to provide crew and cargo transportation to the International Space Station, while developing the most powerful rocket ever built to take the nation farther than ever before into the solar system."

1605 GMT (12:05 p.m. EDT)
"Discovery has distinguished itself as the champion of America's shuttle fleet. In its new home, it will shine as an American icon, educating and inspiring people of all ages for generations to come," said National Air and Space Museum Director, General John "Jack" Dailey.

"The Museum is committed to teaching and inspiring youngsters, so that they will climb the ladder of academic success and choose professions that will help America be competitive and successful in the world of tomorrow."

1602 GMT (12:02 p.m. EDT)
Formal signing of the document transferring Discovery from NASA to the Smithsonian has occurred. The shuttle has become a museum display piece.
1558 GMT (11:58 a.m. EDT)
Chair of the Smithsonian Board of Regents France Cordova.
1552 GMT (11:52 a.m. EDT)
The first American to orbit the planet and a payload specialist aboard Discovery, Sen. John Glenn.
1546 GMT (11:46 a.m. EDT)
Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Wayne Clough.
1543 GMT (11:43 a.m. EDT)
A videotaped message downlinked from the two Americans living aboard the International Space Station -- Dan Burbank and Don Pettit.
1536 GMT (11:36 a.m. EDT)
And now NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
1525 GMT (11:25 a.m. EDT)
Now speaking is Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey, director of the National Air and Space Museum.
1518 GMT (11:18 a.m. EDT)
You are watching musical performances by the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.
1503 GMT (11:03 a.m. EDT)
Strike up the band! The Discovery parade escorted by her former astronaut fliers is underway.
1456 GMT (10:56 a.m. EDT)
LIVE streaming video coverage of shuttle Discovery's induction ceremony at the Smithsonian begins now.
1135 GMT (7:35 a.m. EDT)
After being a museum exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Northern Virginia since 2003, the prototype orbiter Enterprise has vacated the museum's shuttle display slot that Discovery will fill later today.

Double shuttle photo opportunities will be available with the two orbiters later today before Discovery enters the complex and Enterprise is towed to the neighboring Dulles International Airport apron where the 747 awaits for next Monday's ferryflight to New York City. The mobile crane system used to offload Discovery this morning will be used in put Enterprise atop the jet.

1130 GMT (7:30 a.m. EDT)
As seen in our live streaming video, prototype Enterprise has emerged from the museum to make room for Discovery, the most-flown reusable spacecraft in history.
1120 GMT (7:20 a.m. EDT)
Here comes Enterprise! The shuttle is on the move.
1030 GMT (6:30 a.m. EDT)
Laboring throughout the overnight hours with the help of flood lights, space shuttle technicians plucked the orbiter Discovery off of the modified Boeing 747 carrier jet that hauled the spaceplane from Kennedy Space Center to the Dulles International Airport outside the nation's capital this week.

Discovery will be towed along a paved pathway to the nearby National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center later this morning.

In the coming days, the same crane system will be used to hoist Enterprise atop the 747 for flight to New York City on Monday, weather permitting.

The contraption features two huge crane trucks, one picking up the orbiter's front, the other on the aft, to raise the vehicle in its traditional lifting sling. About 200 holes had to be drilled into the thick concrete to anchor the complex wind-restraint system needed to stabilize the entire operation.

In an interview last Friday, Mark Linthicum, a United Space Alliance technician headed to Dulles, described how the mobile cranes would work in offloading Discovery.

"It is going to pick it straight up, we'll pull the 747 out from underneath it, lower it down to about 10-12 feet off the ground, we'll hook up hydraulics and pop the gear down, demate the hydraulics, lower the vehicle the rest of the way to weight-on-wheels, take the aft part of the sling off, bring the nose down (to the ground), take the nose sling off and get ready to tow," said Linthicum, a shuttle worker since 1991.

The contraption had been used in the past for shuttle ferryflights, but not since Enterprise's shipment to Dulles in 1985.

0430 GMT (12:30 a.m. EDT)
See tonight's photo gallery of the 747 bringing Discovery into the crane contraption.
0128 GMT (9:28 p.m. EDT Wed.)
Preparing for what should be a long night of work, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is rolling from its initial parking position at the Dulles International Airport into the specially-assembled mobile crane contraption that will be used for offloading Discovery overnight.

If all goes well, Discovery's trek down the road to the museum with music by the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and appearances by the ship's previous astronauts will culminate with arrival around 11 a.m. EDT. The delivery ceremony and speeches begin at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

1640 GMT (12:40 p.m. EDT)
Working late last night to take advantage of calmer weather, space shuttle technicians deployed to the Dulles International Airport began preparations to remove Discovery from atop the Boeing 747.

At the so-called Apron W on airport property, the dual crane system will be used to hoist the 166,000-pound orbiter off the aircraft using the four-point sling device attached to the shuttle. The same type of bright yellow sling was used to raise the shuttles vertically in the Vehicle Assembly Building for attachment to the external tanks and solid rocket boosters before launch.

The work completed thus far has readied Discovery for the sling's installation. The actual offloading operations will begin tonight and should be completed Thursday morning with Discovery resting on her landing gear tires for tow to the Smithsonian.

Meanwhile, inside the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, prototype Enterprise has been fitted with the forward attach point hardware, known as the tee pee and arrowhead, for connecting the orbiter to the 747 in the days ahead. Also, the ship's tire pressures have been checked.

Enterprise will emerge from the museum early Thursday to make room for Discovery's arrival.

We will have live streaming video coverage of the Discovery's ceremonial transfer to the museum on Thursday starting at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).

1600 GMT (12:00 p.m. EDT)
The space shuttle orbiter Discovery, part of Kennedy Space Center's heart and soul for three decades, departed the Florida spaceport forever this morning en route to become a museum exhibit at the Smithsonian's annex in Northern Virginia.

Read our full story.

1507 GMT (11:07 a.m. EDT)
The ferryflight is taxiing off the runway. Today's trek lasted 4 hours and 7 minutes from takeoff to touchdown.
1505 GMT (11:05 a.m. EDT)
TOUCHDOWN. A veteran of 39 trips to space, the shuttle Discovery has arrived at the Dulles International Airport for unloading and tow to the neighboring National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
1502 GMT (11:02 a.m. EDT)
Standing by for landing on Runway 1R.
1500 GMT (11:00 a.m. EDT)
After making one more Dulles flyover, now the landing gear is down on the 747 for landing.
1447 GMT (10:47 a.m. EDT)
Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is lined up on final approach to Dulles International Airport. But it's just another flyby.
1412 GMT (10:12 a.m. EDT)
The ceremonial tour over the nation's capital to show off the orbiter has been completed. Now, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is targeting a runway at Dulles International Airport for touchdown shortly.
1355 GMT (9:55 a.m. EDT)
The loops of Washington now in progress.
1348 GMT (9:48 a.m. EDT)
Pass right over Dulles just occurred! Discovery will soon head for Washington, D.C. for flybys of the nation's Capitol Building and monuments.
1339 GMT (9:39 a.m. EDT)
Getting an early look at her future home, shuttle Discovery is making a low-altitude flyby of the Dulles and Smithsonian complex in Northern Virginia.
1335 GMT (9:35 a.m. EDT)
Video cameras at Dulles have spotted Discovery. Watch the flyover in our live stream!
1332 GMT (9:32 a.m. EDT)
The T-38 chase jet has departed Dulles to rendezvous with the shuttle flyover.
1330 GMT (9:30 a.m. EDT)
A beautiful NASA photo of Discovery soaring over the Vehicle Assembly Building this morning.
1315 GMT (9:15 a.m. EDT)
FlightAware reports that positional data about the space shuttle is being blocked today, something that has never happened before on an orbiter ferryflight. Without that data, the website is unable to provide its service of providing aircraft tracking.
1307 GMT (9:07 a.m. EDT)
The first NASA aerial photo has been released.
1250 GMT (8:50 a.m. EDT)
United Space Alliance, the contractor firm that processed the space shuttle orbiters, has issued a press statement following Discovery's departure from Kennedy Space Center this morning:

"On behalf of each and every USA employee, it has been an honor and a privilege to care for this nation's space shuttle fleet," said Virginia Barnes, USA's president and CEO. "This workforce made a very difficult task look easy, thanks to their absolute dedication and commitment to this program. We are all proud to have been a part of NASA's space shuttle team, and we hope Discovery will continue to inspire this nation with her incredible space faring legacy."

"The dedication of this workforce has not waned, and they have applied the same care and precision they employed while the Shuttles were flying to the final preparations for museum display. While there is a sense of sadness to see this remarkable hardware go, we are all glad to know that millions of people from the U.S. and around the globe will now have the chance to see these impressive vehicles up close and personal," said Mark Nappi, USA's vice president of aerospace services.

1230 GMT (8:30 a.m. EDT)
In a pre-flight interview, Shuttle Carrier Aircraft Larry LaRose discussed the length of this ferry.

"It's fairly long for an orbiter ferryflight. The orbiter weighs 40,000-50,000 pounds less, so we can replace that with fuel, which gives us another hour's worth of operation. So it's a fairly long ferry mission from what we normally see."

1200 GMT (8:00 a.m. EDT)
Now an hour into this expected 3-hour, 40-minute ferryflight of Discovery. The usual tracking of a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on websites like FlightAware is not available this morning for whatever reason. Our stream will resume from Washington when Discovery gets up there around 9:45 a.m. EDT.
1120 GMT (7:20 a.m. EDT)
FAREWELL, DISCOVERY. Part of Kennedy Space Center's heart and soul for 3 decades, Discovery just made an emotional final flyby of the Cape atop the 747.
1108 GMT (7:08 a.m. EDT)
The 747 is plotting a course northbound now to buzz over the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex and bank over the Shuttle Landing Facility for one last farewell to the spaceport.
1105 GMT (7:05 a.m. EDT)
Heads-up to the Space Coast beaches of Brevard County. Here's your chance to say goodbye to the space shuttle Discovery with low-altitude flybys of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
1058 GMT (6:58 a.m. EDT)
TAKEOFF. Today's ferryflight of the space shuttle Discovery is now underway as the modified Boeing 747 soars into sky with most-flown spacecraft in history, departing the Kennedy Space Center en route to the Smithsonian.
1057 GMT (6:57 a.m. EDT)
Aircraft is rolling!
1054 GMT (6:54 a.m. EDT)
A T-38 jet just took off ahead of the 747.
1047 GMT (6:47 a.m. EDT)
The aircraft just paused at the runway mid-point to give a photo opportunity to the media and tourists on site.
1041 GMT (6:41 a.m. EDT)
The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft has left ramp and rolled onto the runway, beginning this morning's taxi to takeoff.
1040 GMT (6:40 a.m. EDT)
The sun is rising over the Kennedy Space Center on this peaceful morning where winds are calm and skies are clear.
1030 GMT (6:30 a.m. EDT)
NASA confirms that the 747 will taxi the length of the runway, then take off on a north-to-south direction.
0955 GMT (5:55 a.m. EDT)
Good morning from the edge of the runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility, the site of today's tearful goodbye to Discovery as leaves the Kennedy Space Center forever.

The Florida spaceport's runway was built in 1975. The concrete strip is 300 feet wide and 15,000 feet long with 1,000-foot overruns at each end. The facility is located about three miles northwest of the 525-foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building.

The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft will be taking off to the south, headed for low-altitude flyovers of the beaches before doubling back to buzz the Visitor Complex and the runway a final time to say so long to her home port.

MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2012
1715 GMT (1:15 p.m. EDT)
Wow! Check out this timelapse video compressing three days of work to load Discovery top the 747 into less than two minutes. full story
1615 GMT (12:15 p.m. EDT)
The Flight Readiness Review for Discovery's ferryflight has concluded and given a unanimous "go" for takeoff at 7 a.m. EDT tomorrow.

Weather forecasters are predicting good conditions in the local Kennedy Space Center area and around the nation's capital where the 747 will circle before its eventual landing at Dulles International Airport.

Join us for live updates and streaming video coverage of Discovery's departure right here on this page.

1215 GMT (8:15 a.m. EDT)
Now perched atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Discovery emerged from the crane gantry this morning to spend the final day at the place she called home for three decades.

Read our full story.

1138 GMT (7:38 a.m. EDT)
Under a gorgeous crystal clear sky, Discovery has exited the Mate-Demate Device atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for tomorrow's departure to the Smithsonian.
1130 GMT (7:30 a.m. EDT)
All of the support equipment has retracted, vehicles have moved out of the way and the 747 engines roared to life as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft prepares to drive out of the Mate-Demate Device.
SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2012
1915 GMT (3:15 p.m. EDT)
The space shuttle Discovery is ready for the piggyback ride to the Smithsonian on Tuesday morning. Final securing of the ship atop its modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft has been completed and the four-point lifting sling just detached and retracted from the orbiter.
1600 GMT (12:00 p.m. EDT)
The initial stage of capture between the Boeing 747 and shuttle Discovery was completed at about 11:15 a.m. EDT, marking the so-called "soft mate" for the orbiter to her carrier jet. That completes the work that had been planned for yesterday but was postponed until this morning by gusty winds.

The team is pushing directly into "hard mate" operations to structurally secure the duo together, then crews will remove the bright yellow sling from Discovery by the end of today's work shift.

Pushout of the aircraft from the Mate-Demate Device is targeted for Monday around 7 a.m. EDT.

1350 GMT (9:50 a.m. EDT)
Orbiter-to-SCA connecting operations are underway. Technicians will seat Discovery onto the three attachment fittings -- two in the aft, one under the nose -- just like the external tank points. They will achieve a "soft mate" between the two vehicles, then get the torque devices out to firmly secure the bolts for a "hard mate." Once the shuttle is affixed, the lifting sling can let go for retraction and the 747 cleared to exit the Mate-Demate Device tomorrow morning.
1321 GMT (9:21 a.m. EDT)
Discovery's descent onto NASA 905, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft to give the orbiter a ride to her retirement home has begun. The crane system is ever so slowly lowering the orbiter toward the attachment points.
1233 GMT (8:33 a.m. EDT)
The very same aircraft that delivered Discovery from her California manufacturing plant in Palmdale to the Kennedy Space Center in 1983 has been pulled beneath the orbiter minutes ago to begin the mating work for the upcoming ferryflight to the orbiter's museum display site outside Washington, D.C.

NASA 905 was built in 1970 and purchased from American Airlines in 1974 to undergo modifications for the unique role of carrying space shuttles. It has been in service throughout the shuttle program's history.

The aircraft has a wingspan of 195 feet, a length of 231 feet, a height to the top of the cockpit area of 32 feet and a maximum gross taxi weight of 713,000 pounds. It is powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7J gas turbine engines, each producing 50,000 pounds of thrust. The minimum crew for a flight with the shuttle aboard is two pilots and two flight engineers.

1147 GMT (7:47 a.m. EDT)
The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is being towed into the Mate-Demate Device from its parking spot in the northwest corner of the runway ramp.
1110 GMT (7:10 a.m. EDT)
IN THE AIR. The first flight-worthy space shuttle retired from service, the fleet-leading orbiter Discovery, has ascended off the ground one last time.

Kennedy Space Center's Mate-Demate Device has raised the 166,000-pound spacecraft about 60 feet above the concrete so the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft can be towed into the MDD structure beneath Discovery for the start of the attachment process that should continue throughout the day.

1010 GMT (6:10 a.m. EDT)
Retraction of the landing gear just occurred. The three wheel assemblies were folded up into the vehicle and the doors closed in preparation for attaching Discovery atop the 747.

The retraction commanding is performed through a coiled up cable that was run through the crew module hatch before it was closed in the hangar for the final time two months ago. Once Discovery is demated from the aircraft on Dulles, hydraulics will be hooked up through the ship's underside umbilicals to drop the gear.

0935 GMT (5:35 a.m. EDT)
It's a new day at the Shuttle Landing Facility where winds have calmed dramatically since yesterday and work on Discovery inside the Mate-Demate Device has resumed.

Lifting of the rear tires off the ground is getting underway.

Talk about access! Space shuttle fans have a unique opportunity to buy front-row seats at Kennedy Space Center's runway to watch Discovery depart the spaceport atop the 747 carrier jet Tuesday morning.

Read our full story.

1907 GMT (3:07 p.m. EDT)
SCRUB. Today's mating operation of Discovery onto the 747 has been cancelled due to higher than allowable winds. Work will resume tomorrow at 5 a.m. EDT in hopes of better weather.

There should be sufficient slack in the schedule to catch up on the delayed activities and still depart on the ferryflight Tuesday morning as planned, NASA says.

1755 GMT (1:55 p.m. EDT)
As the winds continue to howl, officials are looking toward a 3:30 p.m. EDT weather update to determine if there's any hope conditions will improve to permit Discovery hoisting to commence today or not.
1600 GMT (12:00 p.m. EDT)
The crane device is all connected to Discovery and associated work platforms have retracted out of the way. But the raising of Discovery and lifting the main landing gear tires off the ground is on hold due to strong winds gusting at Kennedy Space Center this afternoon.
1310 GMT (9:10 a.m. EDT)
The forward attach points have been hooked up and Discovery's nose has been hoisted off the concrete. Work to mate the aft points will occur next.
1150 GMT (7:50 a.m. EDT)
Wasting no time following rollout, the bright yellow lifting sling has been dropped into position next to the orbiter for the ground crew to start connecting the crane to Discovery.
1130 GMT (7:30 a.m. EDT)
In the predawn darkness Saturday, the shuttle Discovery moved ever closer to leaving her home port forever as remaining technicians towed the decommissioned spaceplane to the runway ramp for mounting atop the 747 carrier jet.

Read our full story.

1100 GMT (7:00 a.m. EDT)
AT THE MDD. Shuttle Discovery, a veteran of 39 spaceflights and a full year's worth of cumulative time spent in orbit, has arrived inside the lifting structure known as the Mate-Demate Device.

The crane system will raise the orbiter off the ground today, allowing the 747 to slide underneath the spaceplane, then lower the orbiter onto the three attachment struts for bolting in place.

1000 GMT (6:00 a.m. EDT)
Long-time Shuttle Carrier Aircraft flight engineer, a NASA veteran since the late 1970s, Henry Taylor, gives a tour of the modified Boeing 747 jumbojet that will haul the space shuttle Discovery piggyback-style to the Smithsonian.

Check out the photo gallery.

0901 GMT (5:01 a.m. EDT)
FIRST MOTION. The diesel-powered tug has has begun the melancholy move of shuttle Discovery toward the Shuttle Landing Facility where the 747 carrier aircraft is waiting to ferry the orbiter to her final resting place at the Smithsonian.

This roll will take a couple of hours to travel from the Vehicle Assembly Building storage bay to the Mate-Demate Device that will hoist the shuttle off the ground later today and enable the jumbojet to pull underneath.

Final anchoring of Discovery onto the 747 should be finished on Sunday, then the duo will push out of the Mate-Demate Device structure on Monday.

Takeoff is planned for 7 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, with low-altitude passes over the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Space Coast beaches planned before heading to the nation's capital for more flybys of Washington landmarks and eventual landing at the Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.

FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012
The space shuttle Discovery, now decommissioned and ready to go on public display at the Smithsonian, will be towed from the Vehicle Assembly Building's storage bay to the Kennedy Space Center's runway apron early Saturday morning.

Watch this page for live update and streaming video.

The trip is expected to begin at 5:15 a.m. EDT (0915 GMT) and reach the Mate-Demate Device around 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT).

Workers will spend the rest of Saturday lifting Discovery atop the 747 using the lifting structure at the runway. She should be "soft-mated" to the aircraft by 7:30 p.m. EDT, with final bolting on Sunday.

On this 31st anniversary of the maiden space shuttle launch in 1981, the NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft has been fueled for Tuesday's transport of Discovery to her final home at the Smithsonian.

Installation of attach point pedestals on the aircraft was completed yesterday, clearing the way for the orbiter's hoisting atop the 747 this weekend.

Takeoff remains set for just after sunrise on Tuesday for the morning trip to Dulles International Airport. A low-altitude flyover of the the Washington, D.C. area will occur around 10 a.m.

At the Shuttle Landing Facility today, workers were installing the aft attachment equipment onto the 747 to anchor Discovery for next week's ferryflight. The ball-like devices that mimic the same mounting system used in mating the orbiter to its external fuel tank are what hold Discovery in place during the trek atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

While giving a tour of the jumbojet to members of the media today, flight engineer Henry Taylor said it's all quiet in the aircraft cockpit during a ferryflight. But back by aft attachment points, it's anything but quiet.

"There is a loud roar back there and light vibration in the floorboards. You feel it, hear it. The thing I like to do is look out the windows and see the bottom of the wing of the orbiter," he said.

The modified Boeing 747 jumbojet that will haul the space shuttle Discovery piggyback-style to the Smithsonian next week flew across the country to Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday to pick up the spaceplane passenger.

Read our full story.

And check out the photo gallery.

Exactly one year to the day since returning from her final spaceflight and now ready for public display at the Smithsonian, the most-flown space shuttle orbiter was rolled from the Kennedy Space Center hangar and placed into temporary storage at the Vehicle Assembly Building today.

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