Arrival of Space Shuttle Discovery at Washington DC



The final home of the most historic Space Shuttle


Discovery goes to Washington DC

The list of missions that Discovery has completed is impressive.  Among those is of course the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.  It is for this reason that the Smithsonian institution requested this Shuttle in particular when they were announced for retirement.

NASA announced that Discovery would be arriving in the DC area on 4/17/2012, and that it would be flying low to allow a good view by the public.  We had initially intended to see the flight at Dullus, where it would land, but then it was announced that there would be a flyover at NASA/Goddard.  No doubt this special pass was a tribute to the many payloads that were built here.  We decided to see the pass with our friends and coworkers at Goddard.


Super wide view of the scene at NASA Goddard were we were eagerly anticipating
the flyover of Discovery.  Photo Ed Cheng.


The moment of the flyover, you can see Discovery as a small
speck above Agnes' head.

Flyover pictures from The Atlantic.com

After the flyover, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (a 747 jumbo) landed at Dullus International, and they taxied to an area where Discovery was lifted off from the carrier.  Two days later, a ceremony was scheduled where she would arrive at the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Annex (UH).  By then, the Shuttle Enterprise (which has only flown in atmosphere during a glide test), had been pulled out, and was awaiting the arrival of her big sister.

Arrival at the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Museum



Enterprise, with her aerodynamic tail cone fastened, awaiting arrival of Discovery.


At the start of the ceremony, Discovery was partially hidden behind some trees.
To simulate landing, they then played the sound that is so familiar to Shuttle
watchers during a landing: the double BOOM-BOOM sonic boom,
and they announced the arrival of Discovery.


She was then stately towed into place for us to see.


Slowly she rolled into place to be 'greeted' by Enterprise.


An historic moment, two Shuttles in one shot.


I signed a banner and included three of the Shuttle missions that I worked.


This banner will hang in the museum.


UH is located near Dulles International airport.  The access to this runway makes it
very easy for new pieces of the collection to arrive.  It houses all kinds of historic
air and space crafts where they will be preserved forever.

Our public outreach and education event


There were several NASA projects doing public outreach including the
Hubble and the Satellite Servicing projects for which I work.  This is
the same simulator for RRM that was at the STS-135 launch.


Astronaut and Science Mission Directorate chief Dr. John Grunsfeld signed
pictures at our booth.  He was the one that installed the ARUBA Box onto Hubble.
It was great to see him, and he called me
by his nickname for me, Sir Ed.


We had huge crowds at our booths, and I really enjoyed the three days we were there.
Photo by Mike Flynn.










NASA is a guest at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM).  We were
assigned a room to store all our materials.  Each of these rooms are called
'Areas'.  By coincidence the number of our area was '51'.  So we joked
that NASM had artifacts of the famed Area 51, and we had access to it.


Here you can see that the NASA materials were stored in
'Area 51'.  We all had a good chuckle about that.

Page 2 of Discovery Arrival


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