Final 10-Mile Trek for Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis,shown here taking off, has just begun its slow journey to retirement.

Space Shuttle Atlantis,shown here taking off, has just begun its slow journey to retirement.

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Once safely inside, Atlantis will be plastic-wrapped for protection until the building is completed. The grand opening is set for July 2013.

Total exhibit cost: $100 million, a price borne by Delaware North.

Discovery, the oldest and most traveled space shuttle, was the first to leave the nest, zooming off to the Smithsonian in Virginia in April atop a modified jumbo jet. Endeavour, the baby of the fleet, headed west in September.

Here is a brief look at each of NASA's space shuttles in the order they flew, including the prototype Enterprise:

— Enterprise: Shuttle prototype used in jetliner-drop tests over Edwards Air Force Base in California in 1977, never flew in space. Originally on display at Smithsonian Institution hangar in Virginia, it was flown to New York City this past April and moved into the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in June.

— Columbia: Destroyed during descent on Feb. 1, 2003, after 28 missions stretching back to 1981. All seven astronauts were killed. The wreckage is stored in NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, for research purposes.

— Challenger: Destroyed during launch on Jan. 28, 1986, after 10 missions stretching back to 1983. All seven astronauts were killed. Buried in a pair of abandoned missile silos at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

— Discovery: Moved to Smithsonian Institution hangar in Virginia in April after 39 missions stretching back to 1984.

— Atlantis: Being moved Friday to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center after 33 missions stretching back to 1985.

— Endeavour: Flown to Los Angeles in September and moved into California Science Center in October after 25 missions stretching back to 1992. It was the replacement for space shuttle Challenger.

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Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/rss_main_right_collex_archive_1.html

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

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