17 April 2012

PHOTOS: DISCOVERY OVER DC

UPDATED: 09/22/12
(More original photos after the jump)
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The Space Shuttle Discovery flies over DC this morning; kicking off a week of events to celebrate its arrival at the National Air and Space Museum, its permanent home.


Click the banner below to head over to Smithsonian's events page:


Included in Smithsonian's information is the Shuttle Hotline:
"If you won’t have access to the internet during Discovery’s arrival, a hotline will be available beginning April 17. Call in for reports on the shuttle’s whereabouts as they become available:  
Maryland and Washington, DC: 202-633-9100  
Virginia: 703-572-4100"
And here's more useful info on this history-making week from the Washington Post: Shuttle Events

On twitter: #SpotTheShuttle
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UPDATE: Turns out, Smithsonian's Shuttle Hotline wasn't much use after 9:15am. Sigh.

Here are my photos, which were taken from the parking lot at the Potomac Yards cinema in "Arlinxandria." There was a small number of other spectators there. The pictures may have been better had I been on the same side as the sunshine. But I wasn't just there for the pictures. Seeing that in person was undeniably moving and, of course, bittersweet.

Here are my Shuttle images:
(Clicking on each picture gives you a full-sized view.)


(Notice the jet fighter off to the side, keeping an eye on the duo.)

Here is a Photoshop-assisted 'super mega' closeup...


UPDATED: 04/19/12 - Here are pictures from today's Enterprise-Discovery Transfer Ceremony at the Smithsonian Dulles.

As we made our way into the museum, we could see the Enterprise, waiting. She was an early test vehicle that never actually went to space.

Here she is up close. Squeaky clean. The Enterprise has been at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy museum since it opened. Having now been replaced by Discovery, she shall be flying over New York City (April 23) before arriving at its new home, on the USS Intrepid Museum (on the Hudson River, New York City).


As we arrived at the viewing area, we spotted Discovery sitting at the other side of the tarmac.

NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden addresses NASA's social networking group #NASAsocial, while we all waited for the ceremony to begin.

The Shuttle program's final commander (STS-135), Christopher Ferguson (CAPTAIN, USN, RET and former NASA astronaut), who is now with Boeing, also spoke. He discussed the future of the space program, and his company's involvement in the current competition to find the next space vehicle.

At around 11:00am, the Discovery - along with dozens of NASA officials and astronauts - began the short march towards the Enterprise. Here are several shots from that march...





Discovery inched closer and closer to Enterprise until...

"The Kiss"

Anyway, I had to go and missed the rest of that day's festivities.

Welcome home, Discovery. Enjoy the Enterprise, New York! And NASA... thank you, and we look ahead to the next chapter in space.

UPDATED: 09/22/12 - Finally, the last piggy-back flight of the last Space Shuttle has occurred. Whoever came up with the idea of conducting those flyovers ought to be commended. That was a stroke of genius, inspiring so much of the next generation who got a look. They will undoubtedly be the ones to take humans right up to the brink of the space age.