Arrival of Space Shuttle Discovery at Washington DC (page 2)

The final home of the most historic Space Shuttle

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Discovery in her new home

Note the reentry scars and the dings were left in to show that this was a working and
productive vehicle.  I just love that part.

You may notice that a model of Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) hangs
over Discovery.  This is quite appropriate as almost all of the Shuttle's data
(including video) passes through this constellation during the missions.

Conclusion - How I will remember Discovery

There is some small comfort in the thought that this truly historic space vehicle will be safe and preserved forever at the Museum.  She will not be able to be harmed or destroyed by a launch or reentry event.  However, it is still sad for me to think we no longer have the shuttles.

So rather than being museum pieces, I prefer to think of them as working spacecrafts.  So here are some of my favorite memories of Discovery.

STS-95 entry hatch
View of the crew entry hatch into Discovery with the Aruban flag.
This was during preparations for STS-95 in 1998, also known as
the John Glenn mission.  We used it as mission to
test Hubble hardware.  A mission known as HOST.

on the aft deck
My first entry into the flight deck was on Discovery while she was sitting
on the pad for STS-95, ready for launch.  A fully capable spacecraft.
To this day, I remember my sense of awe at being able to
have access to this: the pinnacle of engineering and science,
the flight deck of the Space Shuttle.

mid deck
Here I am carrying the equipment we were testing into
the mid deck of Discovery, where the crew sleeps and lives.

sm3a hatch
Preparations for SM3A in 1999.  The third mission to Hubble.

pad of STS-95
On this day, the RSS was rolled back, and we had a really
good view of the Orbiter Discovery.  Here you can see
the Canister in place with our flight hardware inside.

on pad
Again in 1999, we again used Discovery for the
third servicing mission to Hubble.  This is on
one of the platforms on the launch pad.

senator glenn
STS-95 was the return to flight mission for Senator John Glenn.
It was a privilege to meet him in the SSPF.

Our control station at Kennedy Space Center while the STS-95 was in space.
Look at those fat glass CRTs.  No flat screens yet.

STS-95 landing
For the Shuttle missions, I am usually at the Johnson Space Center.  
Due to the nature of this particular mission, our control room was at Kennedy.  
As a result, STS-95 was the only landing I have ever seen (adding to my affection
of Discovery).  I had the privilege of hearing the famed double sonic BOOM, and saw
her glide to a stop right in front of me here.
(Back then, my camera only took 640x480 images).

My work with NASA has brought me many good things.  A good way to provide for my family, an exciting work environment, recognition, and above all the satisfaction of knowing my work is in space doing science every day.  All this was possible due to the Space Shuttle.  So this fleet, and especially Discovery, has a very special place in my heart.  But more than the crew that flew them, the champions of the day are the women and men that designed, built and operated them.  I had the pleasure of working with many at Goddard Space Flight Center, Johnson Space Center and especially at Kennedy Space Center.  It is these engineer, scientist, technicians and friends that deserve the credit for an incredible flying machine.  The pinnacle of science and engineering.  I feel really proud to be considered one of them.

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