An orbiter took the scenic route Tuesday morning, as space shuttle Discovery made her way to Washington Dulles International Airport. Discovery will be installed at the National Air & Space Museum on Thursday. I thought this snippet of the above article put it well:
It was a sad day out at the Kennedy Space Center for those of us who’ve been around the shuttle program for a while. Sure, we know the ships stopped flying last year, but watching preparations for Discovery’s final flight — in the horizontal, not vertical orientation — was sobering.
“I almost feel like I’m at a funeral and there’s the hearse,” said one of my long-time space reporter pals, Bill Harwood, with CBS.
NASM and NASA promoted this fly-by event heavily, and Discovery flew over many DC landmarks before settling down at Dulles. Viewers were encouraged to “spot the shuttle” and post their images online. Here is a large collection of photos, both of the fly-by and of the crowds. The imagery is bittersweet, for me — I plan to visit Discovery in the future, but I think I’m glad I’m not there now. It does, indeed, feel like a funeral… or taxidermy.