NASA To Launch Planet-Hunting Probe
Space Shuttle Discovery
I recently had the privilege of seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport just outside of Washington DC. For the Air and Space nut in me, this is always a thrilling stop.
Last time we visited, the museum was host to the Space Shuttle Enterprise. While trilling to see, Enterprise was never sent to space. It was used as a test vehicle for landings.
On the other hand, we were able to see Discovery on the launch pad. We just happened to be visiting the NC coast when that same mission was launched, following a flight path up the east coast. We got up early and were able to see the glow of the main engines as Discovery made its climb into space.
Discovery was our first shuttle to go into space and our go-to shuttle for returning us to space. I recall sitting in my junior year history teacher's classroom as a group of us watched Discovery lead our return to space after the Challenge accident. Our family also watched as Discovery returned us to space after Columbia.
To see any shuttle up close is amazing. Seeing Discovery was especially personal. To see the scars of launch, space travel, and re-entry - wow! It was truly breathtaking! I hope you get a chance to see any of our shuttles on display for us around the country. It's worth the trip!