Photos: Shuttle Discovery's last flight

Photos: Shuttle Discovery's last flight

Credit: AP

The space shuttle Discovery lifts off at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. Discovery, the world's most traveled spaceship, thundered into orbit for the final time Thursday, heading toward the International Space Station with a crew of six on a journey that marks the beginning of the end of the shuttle era.(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

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Associated Press

Posted on February 25, 2011 at 2:25 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Space shuttle Discovery is on its last hurrah as it heads for the International Space Station.
The world's most traveled spaceship thundered into orbit for the 39th and final time on a journey that marks the beginning of the end of the shuttle era.

Discovery is the oldest of NASA's three surviving space shuttles and the first to be decommissioned this year. Two missions remain, first by Atlantis and then Endeavour, to end the 30-year program.

A computer problem popped up minutes before liftoff. The issue was resolved and Discovery blasted off three minutes late.
Some pieces of foam insulation broke off four minutes into the flight, but NASA isn't worried.

When Discovery reaches the space station Saturday, it will deliver an experimental humanoid robot called Robonaut 2, or "R2" for short.

In a tweet sent by a NASA spokeswoman, R2 announced: "I'm in space! HELLO UNIVERSE!!!"

NASA associate administrator Bill Gerstenmeir says they're not overly concerned about chunks of foam that were spotted falling from the external fuel tanks during Discovery's liftoff.

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