April 17: Space Shuttle Discovery Flyover Day

by Saramerry99 April. 17, 2012 2655 views

I've got a *bunch* of posts to make and may not get to them all today–but I figured I'd start with the most awesome and work my way through that way.

Now that it's retired, Space Shuttle Discovery is being transferred from NASA to the Smithsonian Institution's Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum out near Dulles Airport. Most if not all of the large aircraft on display at Udvar-Hazy fly into Dulles then taxi over–it really is that close–so we figured that we'd be able to see it land at Dulles.

We've been planning to attend the since we knew Discovery was going to the Smithsonian Institution and have had the date requested off work since there was an actual *date*.

Today was that day. There were about 2000 people at Udvar-Hazy waiting to see the arrival. Before landing, the shuttle did a low-and-slow flyover of DC and some of the surrounding suburbs so people good get a good look at it–there were many thousands more on rooftops, bridges, the National Mall, etc. (I've seen one spectacular picture of some people standing on scaffolding surrounding the statue on top of the dome on the US Capitol building watching the shuttle go by.)

The shuttle initially flew over Udvar-Hazy and Dulles before flying over DC. Then it came back and made another flyover at Udvar-Hazy before coming back a third time for its landing at Dulles. As it was going out of sight the third time there was an ovation for it in the crowd that we were in.

It was spectacular! I was totally awestruck and overwhelmed. It was also quite bittersweet–we might have just watched the end of the US manned space program and that's unfortunate and sad.

We took a picture of us, and I got a couple of Patrick, which normally I'd share–but you know what we look like and you may not have seen the space shuttle.

Space Shuttle Discovery and Shuttle Carrier Aircraft flyover

on their landing approach

Discovery and SCA portrait

into the heavens

with their jet (T-38) escort

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Sara G 9 years ago

How exciting!! Just wonderful shots of this historic event..last one into favs..

9 years ago Edited
Leslie D 9 years ago

I cannot believe you got to see this! Oh WOW! I watched this on the nightly news in total fascination. Your shots are just so amazing and reading your account of the day is as though I were there.
Thank you.
(#3 straight to my favs!)

9 years ago Edited
Mike Meliska 9 years ago

Great captures....

9 years ago Edited
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