Yesterday, I got to witness the Space Shuttle Discovery fly over the National Mall. Discovery made its final journey from Florida to Virginia riding piggyback on a NASA Boeing 747 aircraft. (Isn't it freaking amazing that they can engineer a plane to fly with a space shuttle strapped to its back? Boggles my mind!) The shuttle was decommissioned in 2011 and will be put on display at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport.
Waiting for the shuttle on the National Mall.
Thousands of Washingtonians looked skyward to watch the shuttle, the 747, and the fighter jet escort (it turns out this was a NASA-owned T-38 Talon and it took some spectacular aerial photos of the event) fly over the nation's capital yesterday. Larry and I went downtown to the National Mall to watch, but I think better views may have been had from Virginia. There were hundreds of people watching from rooftops in DC and there were even some amazing views through office windows and along the highways where people pulled their cars over to watch. (I wonder if I could've seen it from my own yard?)
For some reason, I thought the shuttle was going to be REALLY CLOSE and didn't bring the appropriate camera lens, but it was still awesome to witness the shuttle fly over the National Mall - even if I didn't get the perfect photo. (Check out the Washington Post's gallery for some amazing up-close images.)
It first appeared as a tiny speck behind the Washington Monument:
And then circled the Mall three times, flying down towards Alexandria and National Harbor and then over the Capitol and down the Mall again. Here she comes:
As you can see, Larry was fake smiling blown away:
After the flyover, we had time for a lunch date, and since I had my big camera with me - to play tourist in our own city. More thoughts/photos of that tomorrow - but this day was such an excellent reminder to take advantage of and appreciate where you live! DC is such a great place for witnessing history.