My pictures from #SpotTheShuttle

The Space Shuttle Discovery’s arrival to Washington DC yesterday was an event of a lifetime. It was what it was hyped up to be. This blog itself got more hits on my last two posts on the Shuttle’s arrival, than my entire number of hits on all my other posts so far this month combined. (Read my earlier posts – Space Shuttle Discovery flies into Dulles and Live Blog from the Shuttle arrival).

My personal experience in trying to spot the shuttle was not as good. First I got stuck in a massive traffic jam headed to IAD. Wonder who told all these people about the shuttle. Second, when I finally gave up on trying to get to the airport Daily lot and instead parked on an overpass near the airport, I realized that my DSLRs battery was dead. Why to batteries left to themselves in a turned off device drain? Thankfully, my iPhone has a great camera. So I could still get some pictures. The pictures of when the fly bye was the nearest to me got too blurry. I was moving the phone too fast I guess. It was an exhilarating experience to say the least. I am glad to be there in person and experience this once in a lifetime event.

Here are some pictures I did get. Enjoy…

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  1. Wow. A couple of nice pix. The retirement flight did not move me much – and I think I know why. I’m more than old enough to remember both the Moon landings and the first piggy-back flight of this spacecraft from Palmdale to Florida, long before it ever flew. I may be an old fart, but I’m still a lot more interested in NEW flying machines than I am in seeing the old ones on their way to museums. Of note: NASA’s highly modified 747-100 (that carries the shuttles)is also a unique aircraft. After a few more deliveries, I suspect that it too will be retired, but probably to one of the bone yards. Other than its very special purpose, a 741 has virtually no value in today’s markets. Sad, but true.

  2. I like the point you make about the 747. I hope the Air and Space museum plans to take it in too, after all shuttles have been moved in place. I will try to find out what it’s fate will be.

    It’s next mission is to take the old shuttle Enterprise from the Air and Space museum to NYC.

  3. The traffic jams were a bit of a surprise to me, too. I thought nobody cared about the space program… Got stuck in traffic for the first fly-by, but made it to the Costco/Target parking lot in Chantilly where I nabbed a few good pictures during the second fly-by and then the landing.

    It was moving, but for a different reason — it is sad to see the shuttle retired, just when we were getting really good at flying them. And listening to the turnover ceremony Thursday, I cringed when the U-H director called the Discovery “an artifact.”

    On the topic of the 747 SCA: Once it’s done moving the Shuttles around, it will be retired from service. Parts and its support equipment will be used to support NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) — a 747-based airborne IR telescope.

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