Greeting the Shuttle Discovery

So, if you live in the DC metro area (and don’t live under a rock) you are surely aware that NASA delivered Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103) to Dulles International Airport this morning after a prolonged, low-altitude fly-by of much of the region. Discovery will replace Enterprise, the shuttle atmospheric test vehicle, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Air & Space Museum Annex) in Chantilly, Virginia.

Flying atop one of NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (a modified Boeing 747) and flanked by a NASA T-38 trainer (erroneously referred to by the local media as a ‘fighter escort’), the craft made two fly-bys at Dulles before coming in for a landing. This is quite possibly the last time Discovery will ever fly.

Melissa and I had to drop off the Civic, which was recently damaged in a minor accident, at Chantilly Auto Body this morning. I had originally planned to find a closer spot to view the fly-bys, but horrific traffic made us late and favorable weather (presumably) made Discovery early . . . so I snapped a few shots from the auto-body shop instead.

I just barely caught the first fly-by, since I wasn’t completely prepared, then took some random shots of my surroundings while I waited for them to finish buzzing the rest of the metro region. I got some good, clear shots of the second fly-by. For the third and final fly-by, the actual landing approach, I put the camera down and just watched it. Very cool stuff. Photos below. . . .

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.