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The space shuttle Discovery lands at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Discovery taxis down the runway after landing at the Kennedy Space Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: PIERRE DUCHARME / Reuters

An orbital sunrise brightens this view of space shuttle Discovery's vertical stabilizer, orbital maneuvering system pods, docking mechanism, remote manipulator system/orbiter boom sensor system and payload bay in this photo taken Monday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / NASA

Space Shuttle Discovery pilot Eric Boe, left, Commander Steve Lindsey and mission specialist Alvin Drew work on the aft flight deck of the shuttle in this photo taken Monday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / NASA

NASA astronaut Michael Barratt watches a water bubble float freely near him on the middeck of space shuttle Discovery. The photo was taken Monday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / NASA

Astronaut Steve Bowen, anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint outside the International Space Station, participates in the second spacewalk of Discovery's final mission. The picture was taken March 2.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / NASA

Discovery astronaut Steve Bowen works outside the International Space Station March 2. The picture was provided by NASA.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / NASA

Discovery, with Earth in the background, approaches the International Space Station on Feb. 26.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA / NASA

Discovery is seen from the International Space Station with the southwestern coast of Morocco in the background. The picture was taken Monday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: HO / NASA

Spectators watch Discovery begin its voyage to the International Space Station.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Scott Audette / Reuters

Discovery, below, continues to orbit as the solid rocket boosters separate from the spacecraft after it lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Pierre Ducharme / Reuters

A long-range tracking camera shows a close-up view of Discovery en route to space with its three main engines and two solid rocket boosters firing in this still image taken from video.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA TV / Reuters

The underbelly of the space shuttle Discovery is seen during launch from a camera mounted aboard the orbiter's external fuel tank.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA TV / Reuters

People cheer as Discovery lifts off for the last time from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on its 39th and last mission into space. First flown in 1984, Discovery will retire after this journey to the International Space Station.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Stefano Paltera / For the Los Angeles Times

Space shuttle Discovery, STS-133, blasts off Thursday from Kennedy Space Center on its final flight.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel

Mission specialist Michael Barratt shakes the hand of a white room crew member atop the launch gantry.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA TV / Reuters

Crew members of the STS-133 space shuttle Discovery gather on the launchpad before boarding the orbiter.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: NASA TV / Reuters

Discovery is seen shortly after the Rotating Service Structure was rolled back at launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bill Ingalls / NASA/European Pressphoto Agency

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The space shuttle Discovery came in for a graceful landing at Kennedy Space Center just before noon today, ending a 13-day mission as well as the orbiter’s 27-year career. It was also the first step in the end of the U.S. space shuttle program.

“The end of a historic journey. To a ship that has led the way, time and time again, we bid farewell to Discovery,” said NASA commentator Charles Hobaugh as the orbiter rolled down the runway.

Discovery’s return leaves just two more shuttle launches — Endeavour in April, and Atlantis in June — before the program is retired. With it will go an estimated 7,000 jobs at Kennedy Space Center.

Read the full story from the Orlando Sentinal: Space shuttle Discovery makes graceful landing for 39th and final time.

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