Space Shuttle Discovery is poised for her final takeoff, bolted firmly on top of the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This morning (Tuesday, April 16) the mated pair were backed out of the Mate/Demate Device at the Shuttle Landing Facility.
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See more images from Universe Today photographer Mike Deep at KSC, below:
Kennedy Space Center has been Discovery’s home for three decades and the countdown clock is ticking down relentlessly to a day many hoped would not come foe many more years. In just a few hours she will depart for the last time and never return.
The SCA jet, designated NASA 905, will fire her engines at the runway and take flight shortly after sunrise at 7 a.m. on Tuesday (April 17), fly around the Space Coast facilities and beaches, putting on a great show for the throngs expected to wish her a fond farewell. The best view is from the beaches around Port Canaveral and the lucky visitors at the landing strip itself.
Then, NASA 905 will head north and ferry Discovery to her permanent new home and museum display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
Discovery is expected to arrive in the Washington, D.C. area around 10 to 11 a.m. with spectacular views around the National Mall area as well as National and Dulles Airports and the Udvar-Hazy Center, at only about 1500 feet altitude – weather permitting.
NASA TV will air live broadcasts of Discovery’s flight
If you spot the shuttle along the way and around the DC area, send Ken your photos to post here at Universe Today.
3 Replies to “Discovery Poised for Final Takeoff on April 17”
Happy flying, Discovery!
Here’s to history 🙂
As Russian Soyuz rockets light up distant skies, U.S. astronauts humbly hitching rides; and an enriched China flexes its newly acquired wings, their astronauts, beyond the celestial heavens to fling; and India dreams of lifting Her sons and daughters into Earth-orbit, while Europa envisions human transport into near Earth space, the Nation of Star Constellation, that once led the way (from a Moon-dream realized in a mere Decade), flies its harnessed Shuttles into museums from Assembly Building bays.
Workhorses sent out to pasture from a barn know empty:
“Enterprise” may have been lost in misconceived planning.
“Endeavor” is retired from soaring opportunities.
“Discovery” has lost its burning glow, from Science window of Technology.
“Atlantis” disappears from tomorrow’s Space-fairing waves, to rise no more.
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