Reporting Alex DeMetrick
CHANTILLY, Va. (WJZ) — The final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery passed over Maryland and it stopped people in their tracks.
Alex DeMetrick reports it was history flying by.
Just after sunrise in Cape Canaveral, the Space Shuttle Discovery climbed skyward for the final time, bolted to the back of a 747 jumbo jet. Its destination: the Smithsonian Air and Space Annex near Dulles Airport. For much of the trip, other aircraft had the best view, but around the National Harbor in Prince George’s County, people gathered for Discovery’s descent…but it flew over early.
“I was kind of upset because it was early. It was supposed to be between 10 and 11, but as I was driving down the Beltway, I pulled over,” said Sherri Suter.
The earlier than expected fly-over turned the a highway shoulder into an impromptu grandstand.
“Even if it’s on the side of the highway, it’s great,” said Gary Dupree.
“I caught it when it was just going over the bridge and I’m driving and I gotta stop, so I just pulled over to the side of the road. I didn’t care if anyone hit me or not,” said Willow Rice. “I did get a picture of it. Oh my God, I’m so excited.”
That excitement was echoed a few moments later as Discovery was flown low over the National Mall. First launched in 1984, it went into space 39 times. It carried the Hubble Space Telescope and former astronaut John Glenn. Retired from space, it will go on exhibit at the Smithsonian.
Besides Discovery, the other retired shuttles will go on display in New York, Los Angeles and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.