Photo: Todd Freimuth
A museum will be Discovery’s final frontier. Having already conquered space, the 27-year-old shuttle is taking one last, slow trip to the Smithsonian’s Udvar Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport.
Coasting just 1,500 feet off the ground, Tuesday morning at approximately 10 a.m. the space shuttle, hitching a ride on top of a Boeing 747 airplane, made several passes around the nation’s capital.
The flight passed by the national mall, the Reagan memorial and over Capitol Hill among other landmarks in DC.
The tandem flight was audibly clear as it rumbled over crowds of people lining the street and sitting in parks. Other onlookers ran into the street and hurried down sidewalks with smart phones raised trying to catch a glimpse between trees of the low flying shuttle.
Over its span of 27 years in service, the Discovery completed 39 missions, spent 365 days in space, orbited the Earth 5,830 times and traveled 148,221,675 miles, according to NASA.
The shuttle will join other notable historic aircraft on display at the National Air and Space museum. Festivities honoring the shuttle’s arrival begin on April 19, the day the museum officially takes ownership, according to NASA.