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?