In pictures: Space shuttle Discovery's final mission

REUTERS/NASA/Handout

Over its 27-year career, NASA's most-traveled spaceship flew 39 missions and witnessed a number of firsts. It was the first shuttle to return to space after the Challenger disaster. It deployed the Hubble space telescope. And it was the first shuttle to dock with the International Space Station.

Following is a photo journey of this historic vessel's final mission.

Ready? 3 - 2 - 1 - blastoff!

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REUTERS/Pierre Ducharme

February 24, 2011, Space shuttle Discovery lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Its final flight is an 11-day mission to the International Space Station.

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