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Shuttle Discovery
Old 04-17-2012, 10:35 AM   #1
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Shuttle Discovery

We saw it fly over 3 times on it's way to Dulles Airport. Amazing.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:38 AM   #2
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Great photos.

Is that a fighter jet I see in the background as protection?
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:43 AM   #3
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Great photos.

Is that a fighter jet I see in the background as protection?

Yup. Protecting it from the rowdy crowd at Costco where we took these photos Here's a suspicious looking person on the roof of Costco.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:46 AM   #4
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That's great! I love it. The guy on the Costco roof.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:51 AM   #5
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Is that a fighter jet I see in the background as protection?
Not a fighter, a NASA T-38 chase plane - riding alongside the 747 to let them know if the shuttle falls off...
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:58 AM   #6
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The T-38 won't do much good if some guy is hiding in a secret compartment like in the beginning of James Bond's "Moonraker" and is ready to steal the plane!
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:03 PM   #7
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We were watching the coverage on NASA TV. As the 737 with the shuttle was lining up for landing the control tower told them where to move immediately after landing as the T-38 was "critical" on fuel and needed to land as soon as possible.

I remember watching the first shuttle launch. I was studying at the college library and everyone quietly gathered around a single tv and we all watched it with a whispered cheer.
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:50 PM   #8
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So awesome! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:21 PM   #9
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Very nice. Great that you got to see it for real rather than on tonight's news coverage. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:44 PM   #10
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We saw it fly over 3 times on it's way to Dulles Airport. Amazing.
I guess even rocket scientists get lost sometimes.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:43 AM   #11
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That is neat to see. I saw it back in the '80's when the combination did a loop around the DC Beltway at about 1,500 feet altitude above ground level. It caused some consternation among the populace because the advance publicity wasn't very good. Some people apparently thought it was about to crash.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:37 AM   #12
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I guess even rocket scientists get lost sometimes.
They couldn't find a parking spot at Reagan National so had to land at Dulles.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:15 AM   #13
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The shuttle is a great feat of engineering.

It is sad to see it discontinued but it does have a major safety flaw. All other manned vehicles place the astronauts on top of the stack, where it is relatively easy to get pulled away in case of a malfunction. On the shuttle the astronauts are on the side, right next to the fuel tank, and the massive solid rocket boosters that can't be turned off.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:16 AM   #14
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The Russians built a shuttle also, but it never flew. I remember reading that the Americans found out the Russians were spying on the shuttle program and intentionaly fed them faulty information. Ah... for the days of the Cold War!
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
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They couldn't find a parking spot at Reagan National so had to land at Dulles.
Ahhh, that would explain this:

Quote:
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We saw it fly over 3 times on it's way to Dulles Airport. Amazing.
Circling Regan National, looking for an empty parking space...
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:45 AM   #16
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It sure looks beat up -- I guess we got our money's worth.

Do you think they will clean it up before they put it on display? Should they?
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:03 AM   #17
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Great pics, that really had to be something to see in person!
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:36 PM   #18
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It sure looks beat up -- I guess we got our money's worth.

Do you think they will clean it up before they put it on display? Should they?
Yeah, I thought so too. Could have sworn I saw "wash me" written in the dirt on the side when it flew overhead. In any event, I'll let you know. DH and I plan to go to the grand unveiling tomorrow at the Air and Space Museum at Dulles (Udvar Hazy Center for the guy who donated like umpteen million $). John Glenn, the head of NASA a bunch of astronauts and other VIPs will be there for the occasion.
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:38 PM   #19
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Cool photo! Thanks!
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Old 04-18-2012, 04:41 PM   #20
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Three workers up on the Capitol dome had a great view. Here's the link for a larger version
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/in...3_RTR30ULE.jpg
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