Last Ride for Space Shuttle Discovery

It was a sad day when they announced the discontinuation of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. This certainly marked an end of an era. Perhaps someday when they decide space exploration is worth their money again, or when a giant meteor is headed toward earth, NASA will again be sending shuttles into space.

Today marks the last time that we will see the Space Shuttle Discovery take to the air. No, you didn’t miss any last minute announcements of another launch. Discovery is going to be immortalized as a Smithsonian Exhibit.

A modified jumbo jet carried the legendary space shuttle Discovery out of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Discovery first left ground at Kennedy Space Center on August 30th, 1984 for the 12th Mission of the Shuttle program and landed its last time on March 9, 2011 celebrating the end of the 133rd Misson.

Discovery left our atmosphere a total of 39 times, totaling one full year of cumulative time out of our atmosphere, carrying a total of 246 people into orbit.

The other shuttles will also be retired to museum life. Discovery will go on display at the Dulles International Airport in Virginia where the Prototype Shuttle Enterprise is now on display. Enterprise will be transferred to New York City. Endeavour will move to Los Angeles this fall while Atlantis will stay at Kennedy.

A bevy of 2000 former shuttle employees, VIPs, journalists, and tourists were on hand to see Discovery piggy back its way from Kennedy Space Center. As well, surrounding neighborhoods and rooftops nearby all watched as Discovery took its last flight – with a little help.

I think I would like to make a point of visiting one of these shuttles one day. How about you?



6 Responses to Last Ride for Space Shuttle Discovery

  1. No doubt, no question. I already saw the Enterprise and Udvar-Hazy, I will make sure to see Discovery in all her glory when she takes her rightful place in our nation's capital as a monument to humanity's effort to reach for the stars.

  2. I took the family to the smithsonian this past february where the enterprise is now. Not only is whole air and space museum an amazing place to visit but when you walk into the room staring at the nose of the enterprise and read about how they used it to test before making the final flight versions, its an incredible story of American drive and vision for the space program. Being a Canadian, we are proud to have helped build parts (and specifically arms) for the shuttle program which makes us feel just as emotional when we watched discovery being taken away this morning. Just like everybody remembers where they were for Columbia and Challenger, my family will remember when discovery and the rest were retired.

  3. I work in an office building along the Potomac River just south of DC and the office managers allowed us on the roof to watch the Shuttle fly past. It passed right in front of my building twice, then I could see it circle around DC and over Maryland a few times before it flew out to Dulles International. I've seen the Enterprise Shuttle at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space museum a few times now already. Much larger than I thought it would be, the thing fills an entire hanger practically on it's own.

  4. Good riddance to bad rubbish. The shuttle never met and fell well short of expectations. It didn't fly as high, take as much payload, nor flew as often as it was supposed to. It looks like it was nothing more than a jobs program for a bunch of government employees.

    Now the government can step aside and let private enterprise get us to space, finally.

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