Well folks, the Space Shuttle Discovery felt the wild blue yonder for the last time today, making a low-altitude flight over Washington DC atop it's special 747 shuttle carrier on the way from Florida to its final resting place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It's been real, outerspace.
Space Shuttle Discovery, the eldest of NASA's surviving space-worthy orbiters, helped build the ISS and carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. It was brought into service after the tragedies that claimed Challenger and Columbia, and went on to complete 39 missions during which it logged 365 days in space, 5,830 orbits around the Earth and 148,221,675 miles traveled. Discovery completed its final mission on March 9...
Hit the jump for a couple shots of the shuttle cruising around DC today, but be sure to check out the link to National Geographic for interactive panoramas of the shuttle's cockpit, mid-deck, and shitter. Soooooo many buttons to push! When the shuttle is at the Smithsonian will visitors be allowed to sit in it push them all? Because I'll blog from there if we are. Or from the space-shitter, I don't care -- I just want to pretend I'm an astronaut and sign autographs.
GW to space command -- am I clear to post? Over.
"This is space command, you are free to post, GW. Over."
Copy that, space command, posting in 5...4...
"Just a heads up GW: we have a field trip of kids coming in about a half hour, so nothing about your wiener this time."
ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!
Hit the jump for the last flight pics and link to National Geographic's panoramas.
Say so long to Space Shuttle Discovery with 20 farewell photos [dvice]
Space Shuttle in Extreme Detail: Exclusive New Pictures [nationalgeographic] (scroll down for the rest of the panoramas)
Thanks to Lilly, ben (with a lowercase 'b'), Melissa and guillaume, who agree people don't care about space anymore because nobody cares about the future outside of their own lifetime. "What about the children? What about NOT MY PROBLEM."