Thursday, April 19, 2012

Smithsonian Welcomes Shuttle Discovery


A huge crowd welcomed Space Shuttle Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA this morning, including a new #NASASocial (formerly the #NASATweetup) and the largest collection of astronauts ever at any single event!

Hall of Famer Bo Bobko led the charge, as an impressive line of flight suits followed alongside the charred, flight-worn Discovery... and boy, does she ever look every bit her age and effort. Clean her up? Nah. Why should we? She should look like she's been to space and back 39 times!

Space Shuttle Discovery adn Bo Bobko
Bo! And... um... wow, everyone ;)

The crowd frenzy actually began on Tuesday, when Shuttle Discovery left Kennedy Space Center atop her usual Boeing 747 carrier, setting Twitter afire for HOURS across five states with a #SpotTheShuttle trend! It was gratifying to see that and #Discovery trending for 4+ hours, as people of all ages watch our Grand Dame make her way to the nation's capital.

I nearly blew circuit breakers watching NASA TV, CNN, Facebook and Twitter all on different devices so I could keep up from the west coast! As ever, NASA events are worth it. The pilots satisfied the massive crowds at both their departure and arrival points with multiple flybys, and many circles so everyone could attempt photographs over the Washington monument, White House, Capitol building, and other meaningful landmarks.

Shuttle Discovery Photo by Sean Gallagher
AWESOME photo courtesy of Sean Gallagher
(Imagine this being the view outside your office!)

As bizarre luck or charmed fate would have it, I went to high school in northern California with a chap named Sean Gallagher who works in an office building clearly overlooking the runway at Washington-Dulles International Airport where Discovery and her chauffeur finally touched down! And what a shot!

He allowed me to use this photograph even though I totally bailed on the last reunion. Thanks Sean, you rock!

We could now wall-paper the entire Smithsonian with the photos people have taken during her landing and at today's Welcome Discovery Festival, but it's the ones by my friends and fellow Spacetweeps that mean the most, so as much as I admire the fantastic photographers who work for the NASA archives, I want to point everyone toward the SNAPSHOT capturers, because public turnout has been stunning!

Best bet is to follow the #Discovery or #NASASocial hashtags to see all the spacetweep shuttle avalanches. Official accounts often re-tweeting visitor pictures are @NASASocial, @NASA and @airandspace.

Camilla SDO with Shuttles Enterprise and Discovery
Iz in ur Smithsonian, gettin all kissy-kissy wifs ur spaceships!

Or, if you are lucky enough to be IN one of these crowds, share your pictures with a HUGE rapt audience right now at Air & Space Museum's Discovery Page.

So many images have been coming hard and fast over so many forms of social media, it's been impossible to keep up with the feeds, so at this point I just decided to put my feelings in writing, and will pick up again later on the events.

Enterprise left James S. McDonnell Space Hangar to come nose-to-nose with her younger sister this morning, whereupon the attendees were treated to astronaut introductions (15 of Discovery's 32 commanders were there!), speeches by Charles Bolden and John Glenn, and the final paperwork where Discovery was officially signed over from NASA to the Smithsonian.

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum web cams
I don't anyone who made it through without tearing up a little.

When the sun sets, Discovery will take the empty hangar spot that Enterprise vacated, so tune in for that! Everyone can watch on NASA Television or the many Smithsonian Space Hanger web cams!


Sean said...

Thanks for the shout out Heather! Pic is not amazing but it's cool that I was close by. Thanks for featuring it.

I was happy to see the collective interest and pause around my office and around NoVa. I can tell you there was a beautiful gasp of wonder and excitement that occured in my building during the first fly by. It seems that space makes us feel young and curious again. That's a good thing. Nice we can all rally around something since everyone seems to be quite adversarial lately. Space takes us back to our roots. Keep up your great work!

If anyone wants to see some hotter pictures - my co-worker Joan was at the same window with a serious rig. Check it here:!i=1800380548&k=BMH8JnG


Dubravko J. said...

Oh man I wish I could be there :( Thank science for live streaming and Twitter! :D

Norman Copeland said...

It's a while since I posted at pillownaut's journal [hello Heather], I posted this at a science forum...

Arab named stars, gypsies? They travelled from arabia/Iraq/Iran settling in Spain and were known as Gaelic, the Celtish peoples religion was a version of Zoastrianism, studying stars, they moved into France, walked to the then connected with mainland Europe, England, walked into the then connected Ireland part of England.

The Irish Republican Army Known as the IRA declared it had been fighting a four hundred year war against England. From what I could tell from my own knowledge of astronomy was that an element fallout was occuring at the constellation of Auriga into which is above Ireland and southern England. The apparent fallout causing a distressing painful occurance onto the Irish sub element atmosphere [hell].

John F Kennedy encouraged the IRA in america, you see the historical contrast considering the Kennedy government stance against Fidel Castro, ironically Castro in Spain the region of Fidel Castro's origin and one of the largest most important Gaelic settlements in world history of the Gaelic ancestry. The arrival of many Spanish men for potato farming in Ireland around two hundred years ago watched an integrating process move on from older connections to moving to America 150 years ago during the potato famine. The significance of Gaelic ancestry has not been lost and many Irishmen would be happy to remember older days of Irish explorers of the likes of Culculan and the Kings of mount Tara...

The holy grail has brought the cures to all of the unsolved pending issues, among others the end of the element fallout to the good people of Ireland.

House of pain / Jump around

[song at music video]

Darryl said...

That must have really been something. I watched some of the interviews on CNN, but I found more about the entire event from your links! Thanks Arch!

Angila Herose said...

oh hi friends that,s great idea.

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