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Discovery Ready For Mate-Demate Device (KSC-2012-2081) (explored)

Daybreak at the Shuttle Landing Facility, or SLF, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida finds space shuttle Discovery parked in position at the mate-demate device, or MDD. At the SLF, Discovery will be secured on the back of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA, in the background. The MDD is a large gantry-like steel structure used to hoist a shuttle off the ground and position it onto the back of an SCA. The SCA is a Boeing 747 jet, originally manufactured for commercial use, which was modified by NASA to transport the shuttles between destinations on Earth. The SCA designated NASA 905 is assigned to the remaining ferry missions, delivering the shuttles to their permanent public display sites. Discovery’s new home will be the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. For more information on the SCA, visit For more information on shuttle transition and retirement activities, visit Photo credit: (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

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Taken on April 14, 2012