A very special delivery

On Thursday, April 19, 2012, the Smithsonian received from NASA the Space shuttle Discovery, which will take the place of the Space shuttle Enterprise at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. Enterprise was the first space shuttle orbiter, built for NASA to perform test flights in the atmosphere and was not capable of spaceflight. It has been on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s Space Hangar since 2004. Enterprise will be transferred to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.

Discovery was decoupled and removed from the NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) on which it arrived after a special fly-over of Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, April 17. The removal procedure was performed with a sling held by two cranes after its landing at Washington Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Va. Discovery was the first orbiter retired from NASA’s shuttle fleet and completed 39 missions, spent 365 days in space, orbited the Earth 5,830 times, and traveled 148,221,675 miles.

NASA is transferring Discovery to the Smithsonian to begin its new mission to commemorate past achievements in space and to educate and inspire future generations of explorers.

Click on any image to expand. Many more images are available on Flickr


Video footage courtesy of NASA (http://nasa.gov/ntv) and Nathan Moeller, Max-Q Entertainment

Introductory music: “Stay Crunchy” by Ronald Jenkees

Posted: 20 April 2012
About the Author:

Isabel Lara does media outreach for the Communications Office at the National Air and Space Museum. She enjoys dealing with the diverse requests the museum receives every day—from inquiries about ice on Mars and impact basins on Mercury, to satellites, spacesuits, airmail, famous aviators and even Hollywood movies.