One year ago, on April 17, I embarked on an adventure into Washington, DC. I had my camera in hand as I rode the Metro into the city, destination: The National Mall. It was an amazing site when I got there. People were lining the roof tops of federal buildings. The National Mall was filled with people in business suites. Not just tourists come to see the sites of the Nation’s Capital. Everyone was watching the sky, watching for the Space Shuttle Discovery to arrive from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This was the second most memorable NASA event for me, the most memorable being 2 trips and almost 5 days down to Cape Canaveral the previous year to see Endeavour’s final flight to space, but that is a different story. (See my previous posts for more details 1,2,3,4,5,6,7) Discovery, or at least what was left of her after NASA gutted her out for display in a museum, was arriving to her final resting spot, the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia. The NASA 747 that carried her up the East Coast and to DC circled the National Mall several times before landing at Dulles National Airport, very near the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. On April 19 there was a ceremony April 19, where Discovery was put nose-to-nose with Enterprise, the previously displayed shuttle at the Smithsonian, who was getting ready for her trip to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City, New York. Alas, I didn’t make it down to Virginia that day, but it was a site to see! I watched from home, all the news stations were showing at least some of it. My hope is that the shuttle program is soon replaced by other space craft that can take us back to the moon, then on to Mars, and then beyond.
Here is the Smithsonian’s video about the arrival of Discovery: