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Watch as Space Shuttle Discovery Flies to Dulles

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the space shuttle fly on a Boeing 747 before it finds a home at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

NASA's famous space shuttle from the 1980s, Discovery, will fly over the metro area on the back of a Boeing 747 on Tuesday, April 17. 

Local residents can catch a glimpse of the space shuttle orbiter as it travels from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to . Discovery will fly over the National Mall, Reagan National Airport, National Harbor, and the Smithsonian's , Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. DC-area flyovers will take place between 10 and 11 a.m. It will eventually find a permanent home at the Udvar-Hazy Center. 

In Virginia, a number will be available that passes along reports of the shuttle's whereabouts, 703-572-4100. In Maryland and Washington, D.C. the number will be 202-633-9100. People can also check on Discovery's progress online

NASA says that the best place to view Discovery's descent into the airport will be the parking lot of the Udvar-Hazy Center, though the actual touchdown will not be visible. The Smithsonian does charge a $15 fee for parking, though admission to the museum is free. The lot opens at 8 a.m. 

Discovery first launched on Aug. 30, 1984, on a mission to deploy three communications satellites. It was NASA's third space shuttle orbiter. It has completed more than 30 successful missions—more than any other orbiter in NASA's fleet. Its missions included carrying the Hubble Space Telescope into space in 1990 and two subsequent times to service the telescope.

The Smithsonian has an online feature available where people can see the inside of the space shuttle. They are also planning a range of activities for those interested in participating. 

Ron Furgerson April 13, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Patch -- Thanks for the heads-up on this. It is a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of history in the making. And, combining a trip to the U-H parking lot to view the approach of the Discovery with a visit to the museum is a really wonderful opportunity; especially for those who have not been to the museum previously.
Fazia Mack April 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM
As a dedicated NASA groupie, I could pretty much refer back in time to mention"Enterprise" being the first mission/Orbiter but Discovery's contribution may not be undermined by saying so. Will make all efforts to capture a glimpse and record a memory this Tuesday:)
Cindy Norman April 13, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Yes, we docents at the museum have correctly been telling the public that Enterprise was the first orbiter built (OV-101). Discovery was the third orbiter to go into space. http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/resources/orbiters/enterprise.html It will be great to have an orbiter that went into space to talk about. As for everyone who wants to keep up with what is the latest information on the festivities next week, check out: http://www.nasm.si.edu/collections/discovery/
Carol smith April 16, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Does anyone what runway it is coming it is landing on?
Lisa K. Brown April 16, 2012 at 02:39 PM
They are planning on using the runway closest to Route 28. Keep in mind the runway is not actually visible from Route 28.

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