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DC Welcomes Space Shuttle Discovery

Photo: Space Shuttle Discovery flown over the White House

Discovery is flown over the White House, on a tour of the National Mall. Photo: Brian Clark Howard

 

After a few false alarms caused by jets leaving Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the crowd was finally rewarded with a view of the low-flying 747, piggybacking Space Shuttle Discovery, en route to a Smithsonian hangar. Cheers erupted through the jammed road and park in front of the White House.

The carrier roared across the sky, doing laps of the National Mall. iPhones and digital cameras whirred in its wake.

Spectators crowded on rooftops in the District, while VIPs watched from the top of the Oval Office, among the snipers.

Steps away from the White House fence, a peace protestor kept up the vigil that has been going since 1981. That is three years before Discovery’s maiden voyage.

Today’s event was especially poignant for me, because I grew up a space nut, a proud member of Young Astronauts who collected mission patches and stayed up all night to watch Voyager 2′s flyby of Neptune.

I remember when Challenger exploded, and I was so excited that shuttle missions resumed years later that I wore a flight suit to school (yes I was bullied).

My aunt was the first woman to work in Mission Control, and my uncle was a navigator in Houston.

Although the future of manned spaceflights is uncertain, it’s hard to underestimate the interest in science that the various programs have generated. And when it comes down to it, I can think of few things more valuable than supporting science research.

Check out these exclusive HD images from inside Discovery.

Check out more pictures of the DC flyover.

 

Photo: Space Shuttle Discovery over the White House

A patriotic moment over the White House flag. Photo: Brian Clark Howard

Part of the scene in front of the White House during the flyover. Don’t look too closely at the protestor’s sign, or your head will hurt.

Photos: Sailors in front of the White House during Discovery flyover

Sailors watch Discovery from in front of the White House. Photo: Brian Clark Howard

 

Brian Clark Howard is a writer and editor with NationalGeographic.com. He was formerly an editor at The Daily Green and E/The Environmental Magazine and has contributed to many publications, including TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, MailOnline.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN and elsewhere. His latest book, with Kevin Shea, is Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.

Comments

  1. lisa rose
    July 7, 2012, 3:58 am

    Interesting compare among that shipping of the Breathing space Shuttle Breakthrough and almost all which she signifies to the of poor quality inability regarding the skyrocket release within North Korea. The product of your cost-free country in addition to community compared to that inability of a dictatorship.
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  2. denvitroy
    wnsb
    April 18, 2012, 11:59 am

    Yeah, The product of a free country and society versus the failure of a dictatorship.
    http://kerjawa.blogspot.com/

  3. [...] DC Welcomes Space Shuttle Discovery – News Watch /* [...]

  4. Discovery Space Shuttle | Curation Club
    April 17, 2012, 3:35 pm

    [...] DC Welcomes Space Shuttle Discovery News Watch After a few false alarms caused by jets leaving Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the crowd was finally rewarded with a view of the low-flying 747, piggybacking Space Shuttle Discovery, en route to a Smithsonian … http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/04/17/dc-welcomes-space-shuttle-discovery/ [...]

  5. Gordon Starr
    Columbus, Indiana
    April 17, 2012, 2:30 pm

    Interesting contrast between the delivery of the Space Shuttle Discovery and all that she represents to the dismal failure of the rocket launch in North Korea. The product of a free country and society versus the failure of a dictatorship.

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