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Discovery Coming to Udvar-Hazy


In case you missed it, NASA announced today – the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle program and the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight by Russian Yuri Gagarin – that the space shuttle Discovery will make its final home at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center as part of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum collection. The 27 year-old orbiter is the longest-serving shuttle of the retiring space fleet and has flown every type of mission during its career.

It will take a place of honor that is currently occupied by the Enterprise as the original ‘test’ orbiter relocates to its new home at the Intrepid Museum in New York City. The Enterprise has been in place since the opening of the center in 2003.

Discovery flew a total of 39 missions, from satellite deliveries to the Hubble, DoD projects to the Russian space station Mir. It retired after returning to Earth on March 9. The venerable orbiter has spent a total of 365 days in space and  flown a number of special missions, including the 100th shuttle mission in 2000 and was the first shuttle to fly under an African-American commander.

It will be several months before Discovery is delivered to Udvar-Hazy. “An acquisition of this importance happens rarely in the life of a museum,” said Air and Space curator Dr. Valerie Neal. “It is an honor and privilege to welcome Discovery into the national collection, where it will be displayed, preserved, and cared for forever.”

The Daily Feed

Discovery HQ hostage situation concludes with suspect shot

Photo courtesy of
‘Happy Shark Week 2010!’
courtesy of ‘~Daniel The Animal Lover Techie.TaiShan4Ever~’

According to Montgomery County Police, the suspect in this afternoon’s hostage crisis at the Discovery Channel HQ building in Silver Spring, has been shot, and then detained. All hostages have been freed, according to Chief Manger of the Montgomery County Police. The condition of the suspect is not currently known. The hostages are not reported to be injured at this time. This happened at 4:48pm today.

There are devices still in the Discovery Channel building that are being investigated by the Police and Fire/EMS teams. They are suspected to be potentially dangerous and related to the device that was on the suspect’s body.

Chief Manger spoke for approximately five minutes just after 5pm today to announce the conclusion of the hostage situation, and announce the continued operations at Discovery. The hostage-taker was shot by the police when it was concluded that the suspect, reported by many sources to be James J. Lee, was further endangering the hostages to the point where they needed to act. More as this unfolds.

Update: MoCo police radio indicates that they’ve cleared the building of individuals from the roof down to the 2nd floor but the sweep did not include search for devices, so that will have to be done. The active scene is in the lobby where presumably the gunman and hostages are gathered.

Update: As of 5:22p the entire building is continuing to be treated as an active event; Police just refused entry to building engineers who wanted to start resetting the uninvolved section of the building.

Update: TBD states that the gunman is dead.

Update: MoCo police radio indicates that the hostages have been transported to the police station.

Update 5:50pm: Chief Manger and David Levy of Discovery Communications (no relation to our Dave Levy) are speaking now outside the building. They are reporting four potential devices are still in the building, two boxes and two backpacks, that are suspected to be explosives. During the situation, the Montgomery County police were able to observe Lee with a camera, and moved in when he began to threaten a hostage with a firearm.

Update 6:00pm: Discovery intends to open up tomorrow for business and get back to work.

Update: 6:05pm: Montgomery County Bomb Squad, along with the Capitol Police Bomb Squad, will now be sweeping the building.