NASA takes the nation by storm

Trip Start Jul 08, 2011
Trip End May 26, 2012

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Where I stayed
400 15th Street South, Arlington, VA
What I did
The Space Shuttle

Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The American Space Shuttle Program has come to an end. A program that was begun in the early 1970s, and headlined the NASA space program, ended today with the arrival of the Space Shuttle Discovery at Dulles International Airport.

Discovery replaces the Shuttle Enterprise at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The Shuttle Enterprise was a full size mockup that was utilized for proof of principle testing prior to the deployment of the Space Shuttle fleet. This fleet included the ill-fated Shuttles, Challenger, and Columbia.

Discovery's maiden flight was August 30, 1984 and has the record for number of flights into earth orbit.This vehicle completed 39 space missions, remained in orbit for a total of 365 days, orbited the earth 5,830 times and traveled a total of 148,221,675 miles.

Discovery enters retirement  ahead of Atlantis, which is staying at Kennedy in Florida, and Endeavor which is going to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The Shuttle Enterprise is going from Chantilly, Virginia to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.

The Discovery was piggybacked on a Boeing 747 and circled Washington DC 4 times between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning. It landed at Dulles (which is in Chantilly) at 11:05 local. The vehicles departed from the Kennedy Space Center at 7:00 am, looped around the Space Coast and flew north to Washington.

I was on the Washington Mall as the Shuttle circled Washington DC and took a number of pictures. The Mall was crowded with eager shuttle-watchers many shouting "There she is!" as the 747-Shuttle combination came into view.

The Shuttle Discovery goes on public display this week at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Kathy and I visited the Udvar-Hazy Center last month and I will publish a chapter to this blog, in the future.

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