Let’s take a short trip back in time. Not a long trip, just to April of 2012; the 17th day of the month, to be exact. On that day, NASA did the really awesome thing of buzzing DC with the Space Shuttle Discovery on top of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. It was a great sight and one not likely to happen again. A whole slew of photographers got shots of the flyover; be sure to check out some of their work.
Chris was able to get a shot of the event that was both unique and yet iconic of that morning. Using a very old film camera, specifically a Kodak Ektra from the 1940s, and some grainy black and white film, Chris is able to treat us to a sight that looks more UFO-ish and less Post-Modern. It’s a shot that makes me imagine a bunch of well dress Feds, in a 1950s smoke filled room, looking over this shot with a magnifying glass trying to figure out what flew by the Washington Monument. And yet, we know what actually happened and when the shot was taken. Truly fascinating and well done!
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.”