WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Discovery space shuttle has landed at Dulles International Airport after a beautifully stunning tour of Washington, D.C.
The Discovery, which was mounted onto the back of a a special Boeing 747 modified to transport space shuttles, took flight from the Kennedy Space Center at approximately 7:00 a.m. and hit reached the airwaves of our nation’s capital just before 10:00 a.m.
People had their cameras ready, as social media websites like Twitter and Facebook instantly became flooded with shots from their office windows. As the two aircraft swept through Washington, D.C, rounding the National Mall multiple times, commuters stopped their cars in the middle of Constitution Avenue, in awe of what they were seeing fly above.
NASA’s Twitter experiment was a roaring success. Users were asked to include the hashtag (#) ‘#spottheshuttle’ when posting about the rare experience, and users listened, propelling the viral campaign to the Top of Trending Topics in Washington, D.C. If you want to relive the hysteria, type #spottheshuttle into Twitter’s search bar to pull up all the tweet results, including pictures.
The exact route and timing of the flight is dependent on weather and operational constraints, but the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft is expected to fly low-lying at around 1,500 feet as it passes over various landmarks in the area. These landmarks that would make for perfect photograph opportunities are the National Mall, Reagan National Airport and the National Harbor.
WNEW’s Matt DelSignore reported from the National Mall that hundreds of people fled from their offices when they received word that the tandem was flying through, and poured into the streets to witness it for themselves. The fly-by sparked a range of emotions in many different people: happiness, excitement, jubilation, even sadness in the older portion of the crowd – perhaps after witnessing the end of a space program that launched when they were children.
DelSignore caught up with a few of these people to gauge their reactions. Listen here…
When the shuttle finally made it into Dulles airspace, the crowd could not control themselves. Just listen to the outpouring of emotion after its flyover…
It’s been nearly 28 years since the Discovery space shuttle first took flight, and now all these years later as its completed its last, it’s marks not just the end of a space program, but the end of a very brave era.
What was your reaction to seeing the Discovery fly over? How did it make you feel? Did you miss it?! Let us know in the comment section below!