Discovery’s Final Mission

April 18, 2012

DiscoveryPicture 027[1]

Photographer: Susan Grieve; Donna Geiman 
Summary Author: Jim Foster

The photo above shows the Space Shuttle Discovery flying piggyback on a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, cruising over Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. It was on its way from Cape Canaveral, Florida to the Air and Space Museum (Udvar-Hazy Center) near Dulles Airport in Virginia, where it’ll soon be on display for public viewing. Discovery was "flying" low and slow enabling tens of thousands of spectators in Washington, D.C. and its nearby suburbs to catch an up close glimpse before making its final descent.

The last actual NASA Space Shuttle mission ended on July 21, 2011 -- the first shuttle (Columbia) lifted off on April 12, 1981. The shuttle fleet (Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour) and their crews (both astronauts and ground crews) were responsible for constructing the International Space Station, launching hundreds of scientific payloads and igniting the imagination of young and old alike across the globe. Discovery was the workhorse of the fleet, flying 39 successful missions out of a total of 135. Photo of this grand flyover spectacle was taken on the morning of April 17, 2012. 

Photo details: Make: Canon; Model: Canon EOS REBEL T3; LensInfo: 4; Focal Length: 250mm; F Number: f / 10; ISO Speed Ratings: 400; Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode; Metering Mode: Pattern; Exposure Program: Normal program; Exposure Time: 1/1000.