The space shuttle Discovery, one of three surviving shuttles, dispensed with a rocket propelled launch for its final voyage on Tuesday and piggy-backed a ride on a modified Boeing 747.
Discovery, which first flew in August 1984, is being transferred to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Virginia following the end of NASA’s space shuttle programme.
Sisterships Endeavour and Atlantis will be exhibited in Los Angeles and Florida respectively and will make similar journeys to their new homes.
After looping around the US capital and delighting spectators on the National Mall, Discovery touched down at Washington Dulles International Airport.
NASA is now beginning work on a new generation of spaceships that carry astronauts beyond the 240-mile-high orbit of the International Space Station.