Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fair winds, Discovery

The first of NASA's space shuttle's to reach retirement age landed today after completing its final mission to the International Space Station.

Welcome Home Discovery! You've done your crews, your nation and the world a great service during the past three decades. Actually four, come to think of it, OV-103 first flew in 1984.

Shuttle Discovery lands for the final time at the Kennedy Space Center

According to NASA, even after shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis make their final voyages in the coming months, Discovery will still hold the all-time record with 39 missions, 148 million miles flown (238 million kilometers), 5,830 orbits of Earth and 365 days spent in space. All that was achieved in less than 27 years.

Those of us in the D.C. area are lucky - we'll see you soon. According to what I've heard, you'll be replacing OV-101, the Space Shuttle Enterprise, at the Udvar-Hazy Center out at Dulles.

I can only hope the next Discovery will be as faithful a ship as you've been. Best of luck in your retirement Discovery, and may you have fair winds and following seas for the rest of your days.


magnolia said...

i'm kinda distraught that they're ending the space shuttle program. i was always so impressed that we could do something so cool. i saw neil degrasse tyson on bill maher the other night, and he mentioned how the space program is a tool to inspire kids to study science. it didn't work on me, necessarily, but it definitely worked on a few of my friends, who are serious scientists now. for a country that laments our lack of scientific literacy, that's something to think about, perhaps...

HK said...

I grew up in Clear Lake, a few miles from NASA JSC where my Dad worked as an attorney for 25 years. My family used to read articles about missions and space exploration around the dinner table. The retirement of Discovery was bittersweet, I really enjoyed your post. Having Discovery in DC is another reason to visit such a great city.