Discovery’s Final Flight

As I was walking to a meeting this morning in the D.C. neighborhood of Foggy Bottom, I noticed that a bunch of commuters, people who normally don’t even take the time to look up from their Blackberries when they cross the street, were gawking at the sky and pointing at something shiny. Being the lemming that I am, I followed suit searching the heavens to see what was so enthralling that people were pulling their cars over to check it out. What I saw was what looked like two airplanes in a mid-air mating dance.

200mm @ 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100

However, what initially appeared to be aerial love between consenting aircraft actually turned out to be a NASA 747 jet ferrying the Space Shuttle Discovery on a farewell flight over the nation’s capital. I quickly rushed into my office building, and talked a maintenance worker into letting me up onto the roof to take pictures of the historic event.

70mm @ 1/1250, f/4, ISO 100 & 70mm @ 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100

The piggybacking shuttle made several low flights over the city, passing over numerous landmarks, and giving us taxpayers an opportunity to watch an amazing spacecraft that we funded fly for one last time.

200mm @ 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100
200mm @ 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 100
200mm @ 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100

The retired shuttle will be launching into its new role as an educational installment at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Museum in Chantilly, Va., later this month.

5 Comments

  1. What a sad “celebration” of the U.S.’s failure of will to sustain our manned space flight program, in favor of continuing war in Afghanistan and perhaps preparing for it in Iran. What happened to the “Hope” in our society?

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