[Pics] Awe-Inspiring Photos of the Last Flight of Space Shuttle Discovery

[Pics] Awe-Inspiring Photos of the Last Flight of Space Shuttle Discovery

As Fstoppers' resident aviation dork, I felt compelled to share these incredible images of the last time Space Shuttle Discovery will take to the air. Discovery was recently retired, and has been ferried from her home in Florida to it's final resting place, the Udvar-Hazy Center, an annex of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. Not only is the entire process of ferrying a shuttle a technological marvel in and of itself, the photos that Nasa takes aren't half bad, either.

Imagine having this kind of access. What a photographer's dream! I know that I'm going to miss it quite a bit; I remember growing up with dreams of being an astronaut. And now I'm a photographer. Strange, this world!

After all is said and done, what do you think the Space Shuttles legacy will be? Incredibly awesome and capable scientific endeavor, or bloated and overpriced program that didn't accomplish much?

All images courtesy of Nasa.

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Mike's picture

Love those shots...especially the ones of the shuttle flying over DC
Here's a shot of my own that I took today at the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum next to Dulles Airport

Wow!  Awesome shots.  I am such a space junkie.

I found it ironic the shuttle did a flyover of the house of the guy that shutdown the shuttle program.

Todd Bayliss's picture

Obama didn't actually kill the shuttle program — it was scheduled for mandatory retirement in 2010.  He did, however, kill funding for the Constellation program in 2011 because of its considerable costs.

 Exactly. The Constellation "shuttle program." 60 minutes did a segment on this.  Killed 7000 jobs and the town of Titusville.

Fabrice Rodriguez's picture

Fantastic shots. Yesterday I was on the roof of my company's building facing the runway at Dulles Airport. You can see some pics here: http://smu.gs/HQf9dU

All of these are fantastic shots! I find it hard to believe such huge "monstrosity" can be transported over the air and yet the roads are so bad.

Jason Lee's picture

end of an era... thank you for posting these 


Ralph Hightower's picture

The Smithsonian created a Flickr Group for people to post their photos of Discovery to: http://www.flickr.com/groups/spaceshuttlediscovery/

I'll miss the Space Shuttle fleet also; although I understand the reasons why with two Space Shuttle accidents. They will be missed.

I was able to check off a bucket list item when I saw Atlantis launch from the NASA Causeway and see her land at the Shuttle Landing Facility as part of a NASA Tweetup. I wish I had a DSLR for the pre dawn landing; Kodak BW400CN pushed to 1600 was too slow or I should've ordered TMax 3200 and paid for next day delivery.

Sorry wasatchpowder, President Bush, not Obama, was the one who ordered the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet from the Columbia Accident Investigation Board instead of recertifying the fleet, which involved stripping them to the airframe for inspections. Bush also wanted the Constellation Space Program to replace the Space Shuttle, but never gave it adequate funding or lobbied Congress for funding.

Someone had fun taking pictures. =)