Space shuttle Discovery has a famous history as NASA’s fleet leader and the world’s most flown spacecraft. Today the shuttle makes its final trip from its home at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Destination? The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum outside Washington D.C. for a future on display.
Discovery is traveling on a piggy back ride atop NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747 jetliner — the same one that was used to deliver it to Florida in 1983.
The pair took off from Florida at 6:58 a.m. EDT and are set to arrive in D.C. between 10 and 11 a.m. Before landing in the capital, they’re expected to make a historic flyover of some of the city’s landmarks.
The Discovery received a hearty farewell in Florida this morning from the members of its 39th and final spaceflight — the six astronauts who flew the STS-133 mission in March 2011. In anticipation of its arrival, spectators will gather at some designated D.C. locations — ready to absorb the historic moment.
Watch the livestream at NASA.gov as the Discovery makes its way to the Washington Dullies International Airport and prepares for its permanent rest at the Smithsonian.
In the meantime, NASA has sent #spottheshuttle trending!
Discovery #OV103 heads to @airandspace! Follow arrival live nasa.gov around 10 a.m. EDT #spottheshuttletwitter.com/NASA/status/19…
— NASA (@NASA) April 17, 2012
Here’s the complete set of my pics of Discovery’s Departure #SpotTheShuttle flic.kr/s/aHsjzwwYRt
— Jen Scheer (@flyingjenny) April 17, 2012
You can keep tabs on the best Discovery Washington flyover images on their Flickr group flic.kr/p/bNfVAn#Spottheshuttle
— Flightglobal (@Flightglobal) April 17, 2012
[Image taken from twitter.com/NASA]