WASHINGTON (AP) — When space shuttle Discovery makes its way to the Smithsonian, it will join capsules from Mercury, Gemini and Apollo that have all flown in space.

Curator Valerie Neal says adding Discovery will complete the Smithsonian’s collection of U.S. spacecraft up to this point. The shuttle will eventually be displayed at the National Air and Space Museum’s annex in Virginia. The building and floor were designed with an orbiter in mind.

NASA announced Tuesday that the space shuttles would also retire to museums in Los Angeles and Florida. New York City will get a test-flight orbiter. Twenty-one museums around the country put in bids.

Neal says the shuttle encapsulates an entire generation of spaceflight. The museum may add more exhibits to show the shuttle’s impact over the last 30 years.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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