Discovery’s Final Resting Place
Space Shuttle Discovery, atop its Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, NASA 905, flew over the US national capital region on April 17, 2012 on the final leg of its ferry flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Dulles International Airport in Virginia, on the way to its final home at the National And & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The image above shows the duo flying near the U.S. Capitol and the video below shows views of Discovery from various vantage points in Washington D.C.
Space Shuttle Discovery was hoisted by a giant crane and mounted on a Boeing 747 Sunday for its last ever journey – a piggyback ride to Washington where it will go on display at the Smithsonian Museum. Nasa technicians at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida had planned to complete the operation early but it had to be abandoned due to high winds.
Here’s a video taken by Joy Hargraves who went to the Udvar-Hazy Center today to watch the Shuttle Discovery come in to her final resting place.
Attached: The shuttle Discovery sits on the Boeing 747, ready for its piggy-back ride from the Kennedy Space Centre Washington DC
Docking complete: The 167,000-pound shuttle rested comfortably atop the modified jetliner
Weather depending: The shuttle was supposed to be mounted last Saturday, but high winds forced crews to call off the operation.
This photo shows the sheer scale of the two craft that were mated for the journey
Lowering down: The space shuttle Discovery was placed on top of the bottom plane for its ‘piggyback ride’ trip from Cape Canaveral in Florida to the Smithsonian Museum in D.C. last Tuesday
Measured movements: The trip was initially scheduled to take place Saturday but high winds pushed it back to last Tuesday
Guiding: The space shuttle is shown as it lowers onto the Nasa 747 aircraft
The spacecraft, which first flew in 1984, was retired after its final mission in February last year taking essential parts to the International Space Station.
It will replace the Space Shuttle Enterprise, currently on display at the Smithsonian, which will be flown to JFK International Airport later this year and taken by barge to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City.
Discovery was towed out of the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building and positioned inside crane which is designed to mate it with the specially adapted jumbo jet carrier aircraft.
Piggyback ride: Space Shuttle Discovery waits at the ‘Mate-Demate’ structure to be to be mounted atop a 747 carrier jet
Aborted: The operation had to be abandoned after the Shuttle began to sway due to strong winds
Final journey: Discovery is towed for the last time out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. It was carried on top of the 747 Jumbo Jet to Washington DC on Tuesday
Technicians had managed to attach Discovery the large metal yellow sling and had lifted the shuttle’s nose in preparation for retracting the landing gear before gusting winds caused the 167,000 pound spacecraft to sway.
Bart Pannullo, NASA’s transition and retirement vehicle manager, said: ‘We did get the sling attached and we did lift the forward portion of the vehicle,
‘The next step we would have done was lifted the entire vehicle and retracted the gear. We did not get past that point.
Old girl: Discovery, the oldest shuttle in Nasa’s fleet, has flown a staggering 39 missions over nearly 27 years.
The spacecraft, which first flew in 1984, was retired after it’s final mission in February last year taking essential parts to the International Space Station
Discovery which weighs 167,000 pounds, was stripped of her precious instruments in preparation for her final journey to Washington D.C
‘The primary concern was that when you lift the orbiter, the wind will move it and potentially make contact with the platforms that go around the orbiter.’
Discovery, the oldest shuttle in Nasa’s fleet, has flown a staggering 39 missions over nearly 27 years. She was stripped of her precious instruments in preparation for her final journey to Washington D.C.
Earlier flight: Discovery arrives at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2000
Discovery was flown to Washington where it will become an attraction at the Smithsonian museum (file picture) Source: Mail Online