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Captain Kirk Launches Discovery's Final Flight

Shuttle leaves space station, set to land on Wednesday
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2011 10:48 AM CST
Captain Kirk Launches Discovery's Final Flight
In a frame grab made from NASA TV, space shuttle Discovery backs away from the the International Space Station after undocking for the last time Monday, March 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – Discovery left the International Space Station for the last time today, but not before getting a rousing send-off from Captain Kirk himself. As the astronauts woke, they were treated to the unmistakable voice of William Shatner. "Space the final frontier," the recording said. "These have been the voyages of the space shuttle Discovery. Her 30-year mission: to seek out new science, to build new outposts, to bring nations together on the final frontier, to boldly go and do what no spacecraft has done before."

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After that, the morning's official wake-up music played: the Star Trek theme music. It was a fitting tribute to the world's most traveled spaceship, which has flown more than 39 missions and clocked nearly 150 million miles on its odometer, according to the AP. After undocking, the storied craft performed a victory lap around the space station, then set course for Earth. Click here for more on the Discovery's final voyage, including astronauts' attempts to bottle outer space. (Read more Discovery space shuttle stories.)

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