Has it really been 5 years?


Discovery Final Fly By

How ironic is it that it was Discovery that did the flyby today over Washington DC, amidst the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the Capitol? Atop a Boeing 747, it soared over the Nation’s Capital at 1500 ft waving a final goodbye before gliding to a landing at it’s final resting place: National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, VA.

After a sweeping low flyby past the Washington Monument, it looped over the National Mall not once but twice, slow, silent yet graceful. Past the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Capitol, The White House, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial. After two graceful loops over the mall, she finally bid adieu headed up the Potomac River past the SW Waterfront,  Reagan National Airport and finally Dulles International Airport. Crowds thronged the mall and other lookout areas taking a break from school, work and other activities to catch a glimpse of history, anxious to snap a photo and discuss the times they had watched a shuttle launch out in Titusville.

When NASA announced the end of the Space Shuttle Missions in 2010, it was finally now or never. It was STS 133 launch that I was scheduled to watch. After several failed attempts to procure KSC launch tickets, my friends and I managed to buy the Dolphin Tours Causeway launch package for STS-133 which was scheduled to liftoff on Nov 1st, 2010. As fate willed it, after waiting almost a week in Florida with daily postponements to the next day, STS-133 launch got scrubbed and re-scheduled for Feb 24th, 2011 when Discovery  accomplished it’s final mission before being retired from service.

It was to be never for me since I have never watched a Shuttle launch or landing. So it is especially a bitter sweet moment to finally see Discovery not on a launchpad strapped to solid rocket boosters 10 miles away blasting off gracefully to space on a crimson and pristine predawn Florida sky but 1500 ft above Washington DC, piggybacked on a Boeing 747.

Discovery  and so we finally meet 🙂

See Also:

Atlantis: Final Flight 
SpaceShipOne Government Zero
SpaceShipOne and I
I touched SpaceShipOne
Lost in Space

Earth Rise


Happy Earth Day

Sunday is Earth Day!

Earthrise

Courtesy: William Anders, NASA

The final decision on who took this historic photograph was decided finally this past January.

Happy Earth Day 2018!

Links

Tammie Jo Shults lauded after Southwest Airlines 1380 emergency — Aviate Navigate Communicate


Another aviation hero has emerged folks. Her name is Tammie Jo Shults and is being lauded after a Boeing 737 suffered a catastrophic un-contained engine failure as the aircraft headed west over the south side of New York at about 32,200ft doing around 850kph. Her fighter pilot training skills are believed to have helped as she […]

via Tammie Jo Shults lauded after Southwest Airlines 1380 emergency — Aviate Navigate Communicate

Today in Transportation History – 1912: The First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel — Transportation History


Aviation pioneer Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. The Michigan-born pilot departed Dover, England, for Calais, France, in a monoplane that she had never flown before and with a compass she had just recently learned to use. Quimby, despite those challenges as well as thick fog that limited visibility […]

via Today in Transportation History – 1912: The First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel — Transportation History