Orbiter Discovery Send Off

Orbiter Discovery Send Off

Orbiter Discovery Send Off

Orbiter Discovery Send Off,  Space shuttle Discovery departed Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Merritt Island Florida for an early-morning takeoff atop NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA905). Unlike other voyages to low Earth orbit, the NASA’s shuttle with more miles logged than any other made its way to Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

The SCA transporting Discovery took off from Kennedy from the (SLF) Shuttle Landing Facility at 7 a.m. EDT. The flight landed at 11:05 a.m. when the aircraft touched down at Washington Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Va.

Before departure from Kennedy, guests, media and other officials were joined on the runway by the first and last Discovery’s astronaut crews  for an memorable send-off.

“This is the place where people have really taken care of Discovery for its entire life,” said NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, a mission specialist on Discovery’s final flight, STS-133. Stot worked in a variety of shuttle-processing roles at Kennedy.

The Orbiter Discovery Send Off sent the spacecraft on the retirement path begining with today’s ferry flight. It will then be removed from the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft and relocated to the Udvar-Hazy Center mid April.

Discovery flew 39 missions, more than any other vehicle in the fleet. Its 26-year spaceflight career began Aug. 30, 1984, when it carried six astronauts into orbit on the STS-41D mission. The now famous Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from Discovery’s payload bay.  Astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn returned to orbit aboard Discovery as a crew member of the STS-95 crew, 36 years after his history making Mercury flight.

  • Discovery atop NASA 905 depart NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7 a.m. EDT 4/17/2012
  • Destination Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. at arrival at 11:05 a.m.
  • Invited guests, members of the media and NASA officials joined at the runway by members of Discovery’s first and last astronaut crews for the send-off.
  • NASA 905, the aircraft carrying Discovery to Virginia is the same one that first delivered the spacecraft to Kennedy on Nov. 9, 1983. The aircraft is one of two modified 747 jets the agency used to ferry orbiters during the Space Shuttle Program.
  • Discovery flew 39 missions, more than any other vehicle in the fleet. Its 26-year spaceflight career began Aug. 30, 1984, when it carried six astronauts into orbit on the STS-41D mission.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from Discovery’s payload bay.
  • Discovery completed the first space shuttle rendezvous with the Russian space station Mir.
  • Discovery that led the space shuttle fleet back to orbit in “The Return to Flight”
  • It docked with the International Space Station 13 times supplying more than 31,000 pounds of hardware as the laboratory grew.
  • The STS-133 mission to the space station was Discovery’s final spaceflight.
  • December 2011, Discovery’s 60-foot-long payload bay doors were sealed closed, the crew module went dark as technicians permanently powered down the vehicle.
  • The Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility was host to guests gathered before dawn for the perfect view of Discovery’s departure. A NASA helicopter, T-38 jet, and finally, Discovery and its ride — moved to the north end of the runway for takeoff.
  • The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft took Discovery on one last aerial tour of Florida’s Space Coast. It also flew above the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Vehicle Assembly Building and Kennedy Press Site making one last pass over the Shuttle Landing Facility on its way out of the area for the final time.

NASA Reference: Discovery Departure