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The Diva Discovery’s Curtain Call « The NASA Lady

The Diva Discovery’s Curtain Call

Apr 18, 2012   //   by pgreyer   //   Latest Buzz  //  No Comments

Classy Ride

Tuesday was the beginning of the celebration for the historic space shuttle Discovery.  Providing oohs and ahhs as well as tears and smiles, Discovery,  flyin atop a modified 747 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Washington’s Dulles Airport, gave many their first glimpse at OV-103, curiosity seekers impressed at the attention taken away from so many daily lives to come out and spot Discovery, and others, such as astronauts, NASA employees, and a group of space tweeps to whom Discovery has a very special place in our hearts, a nostalgic walk down memory lane.  @NASA asked their followers to post pictures they caught of Discovery as she flew overhead.  The images are breathtaking and will be as lasting in our memories as the sight of Discovery launching into space over a 27 year time period and completing 29 missions.

Discovery launched the Hubble Space Telescope and conducted the second and third Hubble service missions.  In 1988, Discovery was the orbiter chosen to “Return to Flight” following the 1986 Challenger disaster and for the “Return to Flight” missions in July 2005 and 2006 after the Columbia disaster.  Discovery also carried astronaut John Glenn on STS-95 who at the age of 77 showed the world he had the right stuff making him the oldest person to go into space.

In my own memories of Discovery, I watched her launch on several missions in the NASA Aeronautics Education Laboratory with students acting as mission control specialists.  I was there for her planned launch in November, 2010 only to watch days go by with continued technical problems causing several launch scrubs and quite a few disappointed space enthusiasts who left Kennedy Space Center without seeing her take her final flight.  Fortunately many of us came back in February as part of the Neverending NASA Tweetup and finally saw Discovery take the sky.  She did that one last time on April 17, 2012 on a piggy-back ride of a lifetime.

The joy is by no means over.  Thursday, April 19, 2012 will be Discovery’s entrance to the Smithsonian Museum’s Air and Space Museum.  You can follow the excitement live from the Udvar-Hazy center as well as on NASA TV.  I will be watching and living vicariously through the tweets and excitement of my fellow STS-133 tweeps who will be there in person and everyone else who will  Discovery installed as a piece of living history for generations to come.

 

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