Space Shuttle Discovery flies over Washington DC: It was not only exciting but heart throttling experience for the US people as they flocked towards the Mall and Potomac waterfront to see the return of the NASA’s oldest surviving space shuttle Discovery, carried on the back of Boeing 747, soaring 1500 feet over the nation’s capital and gliding over the Potomac River, Reagan Airport and National Mall before touching down at Dulles Airport.
The gigantic space shuttle namely Discovery weighing approximately 700,000 pounds was successfully launched 39 times since 1984 (last year being the last time) and is the first of NASA’s three space shuttles to land at its retirement home as a result of United States decision of decommissioning all manned shuttle programs.
Over the past 27 years, Discovery has logged nearly 143 million miles and carried maximum crew members as compared to other space shuttles. Discovery deserves the credit for the following achievements:
- Delivered Hubble Space Telescope to Orbit
- Carried the first Russian cosmonaut to launch on a U.S spaceship
- Set the first appointment with the Russian space station Mir with the first female shuttle pilot in the cockpit,
- Returned Mercury astronaut John Glenn to orbit,
- Last but not the least brought shuttle flights back to life after the Challenger and Columbia accidents
Although, it was a thrilling experience by the people but, in view of Discovery achievements, it is sad to know that Discovery would now remain grounded at Smithsonian.