The Shuttle's last flight

Photo: Larry Downing / Reuters

Thousands gathered today to watch space shuttle Discovery take its last flight, lifted by Boeing 747 to a permanent resting place at Dulles International Airport. There, it will go on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center.


  1. A total bookend. I remember as a child marveling at a) a plane being carried on top of another plane, and b) that tailcone. 

    And dig the tailets on the Daddy plane!

    1. I hope they keep restoration to an absolute minimum.  Discovery should be displayed with all the weathering she earned.

  2. co worker up north snapped this incredible  shot !   its kinda scary how low it appears

  3. I was going to go watch this from the roof, but there was a big pack of people waiting for the elevator.  So I walked down the hall to a empty conference room, and saw it 10 seconds later.  I would have missed it if I waited for the elevator.

  4. Sitting at home, working (for NASA, btw), and scan news. “Oh right, today is the day the shuttle flies over the area.” Hear engines roar. Run outside to see the shuttle and its 747 fly right over my house. Excellent timing. Best was hearing all the kids at the elementary yelling to look at it!

    1. P.S. Reminds me of when I saw the same thing so long ago when the Enterprise fly over the area on its way to Dulles.

  5. I’d like to raise a glass of Tang and propose a toast to the mighty metal steed! May you find the relaxation you deserve after logging 148 million miles on your hull. Happy retirement!

    1. Tang, of course!  As an hors d’oeuvre, how about asparagus with a butter and garlic glaze, wrapped in prosciutto… sucked out of a tube of toothpaste.

  6. I keep expecting to hear David Attenborough in voice-over, telling us all about this strange mating ritual. Although in my head he beguilingly ends with “…and that’s where helicopters come from.”

    1. “…and that’s where helicopters come from.”

      Just a little tweak in the narration, “that’s where scramjets come from.”

  7. That’s one plane I’d like to hijack.  And fly it to Houston.  WHERE IT DAMN WELL OUGHT TO BE GOING!

      1.  OK, fine, agreed.  But the fact that New York got one and Houston didn’t is just plain idiotic.  I still can’t believe it.

        1. agree , NEW YORK WTF ?   no space shuttle ever landed in the river……. but I guess it will be a damn good tourist attraction per capita……

  8. So it has gone full circle it seems.   I remember as a kid seeing the test flights with a shuttle bolted to a airliner just like this.  Now it is ending its life the way it started.

  9. Sad day really.  Fifty years ago I met John Glenn when as a schoolboy I saw him at our local museum, as he did a tour with his space-craft.  His signature on one of the bits of jotter paper is a treasure.  Now fifty years later I see the mission over, and America lofted into space by the Russians, and unable to fly her own astronaughts.  

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