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Discovery Heads to Florida From Mojave

August 19, 2005

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) _ Discovery rode piggyback atop a jumbo jet Friday for a cross-country trip to Florida, more than a week after it landed in the Mojave Desert to become the first space shuttle to return to Earth since the Columbia tragedy.

The modified Boeing 747 carrying the shuttle took off just after 8:30 a.m. PDT to return to Cape Canaveral. It will make several stops to refuel during the 2,232-mile trip, which was expected to cost NASA at least $1 million.

Discovery and its seven-member crew touched down Aug. 9 at the Edwards backup landing site after a 14-day mission to service the international space station. The landing was diverted to California after low clouds and lightning prevented the shuttle from returning to Florida on four earlier attempts.

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