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Orbiter: Discovery
Mission: STS-133
Payload: Leonardo
Launch: Feb. 24, 2011
Time: 4:53 p.m. EST
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
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11:57 a.m. EST
Site: KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility

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Space shuttle ferryflight to Smithsonian ready for takeoff
BY JUSTIN RAY
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: April 16, 2012


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Now perched atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Discovery emerged from the crane gantry this morning to spend the final day at the place she called home for three decades.


Discovery will ride piggyback atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
Credit: Justin Ray/Spaceflight Now

 
The fleet-leading orbiter with 39 spaceflights has been cleansed of harmful chemicals, safed from internal pyrotechnics, outfitted with replica engines and donated to the Smithsonian to display the ship's majesty to the public like never before.

The modified Boeing 747 jet will depart the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT), performing a series of low-altitude passes over the Space Coast beaches, Visitor Complex and spaceport before plotting a course towards the nation's capital were more flyovers are planned and an eventual landing at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

"With the flybys here and the Dulles areas, the flight is going to be about 3 hours, 40 minutes. Just flying time is 2 hours, 20 minutes," said Shuttle Carrier Aircraft flight engineer Henry Taylor.

"The museum wants us to do a pass over Dulles and we're going to try to do some in the D.C. area. The exact route is not published. Hopefully the weather will cooperate where it will be good for the people on the ground to see, and we'll have a photo chase to get some aerial photography."

The D.C. flyovers are expected around 10 a.m. EDT and touchdown at Dulles is expected at 10:40 a.m. EDT.

Shuttle fans are expected to flock to the airport to see the landing, and 747 pilot Jeff Moultrie says he will give folks a nice photo opportunity.

"We have a nice long runway there at Dulles. We plan to show the vehicle off in the taxi to the center portion of the Dulles complex. We're going to taxi slow and give people a chance to take pictures," said Moultrie.

At three hours and 40 minutes, the non-stop ferryflight is considered relatively long for a single leg with the shuttle on top.

"There is going to be so much attention, it's going to be great for the public to get to see it one last time. I just wish we could do more flying around. It is going to be an exciting but sad time," said Taylor.


Photographers gather to see Discovery.
Credit: Justin Ray/Spaceflight Now

 
Departing from KSC's three-mile-long runway purposely built for space shuttle landings, the combined 747/Discovery duo will weigh some 698,000 pounds at takeoff, rotating the nose off the deck after surpassing 150 knots and getting airborne at about 180 knots around the field's 9,500-foot mark, Taylor previewed.

"It is sort of shocking on the first try," Moultrie said of getting the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft airborne. "The biggest thing is the length of runway required to get it off."

After the local Florida flyovers at just a few hundred feet above the ground, the aircraft will climb to its cruising altitude of 15,000 feet and velocity of 300 knots.

"You are sort of slow-poking it along compared to airliner counterparts," said Moultrie, an 11-year veteran pilot for NASA.

Also aboard the aircraft will be co-pilot Bill Rieke, who will fly the next ferryflight with Enterprise to New York, and flight engineer Larry LaRose, who will take the cockpit console from Taylor for Tuesday's landing.

With the fueled burned off, the aircraft will reach Dulles with a weight of 550,000 pounds and a 150-knot approach speed for touchdown at about 140 knots.

"It is probably going to be one of the most-filmed landings ever. So I'll do my best and see what happens," Moultrie quipped. "There's no pressure on that!"

Taylor will be monitoring all of the 747's systems during takeoff and the initial portion of the ferryflight before handing over to LaRose. He has been a member of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft team since the late 1980s, among his other NASA flying duties.


Credit: Justin Ray/Spaceflight Now
 
Turning 60 today, Taylor plans to retire at the end of this year after serving on all three remaining shuttle ferryflights.

"I've been with NASA since the late 70s. It's the end of a program. It was a wonderful program for the country and the nation, especially everyone here in Florida and Houston," Taylor said of delivering the retired Discovery.

The native of Greenville, South Carolina, he spent 30 years flying as a flight simulation engineer aboard the Shuttle Training Aircraft, the Gulfstream jet modified to simulate the handling characteristics of a returning orbiter.

"I flew with everybody who ever flew the space shuttle," he recalls.

Logging more than 20,000 dives into runways with shuttle commanders in training, he accumulated over 5,000 hours in the STA for pre-flight landing practice plus flying weather reconnaissance before liftoffs and touchdowns.

Now, Taylor will be one of just four men taking the piggybacking shuttle Discovery to her final resting place at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

"It is going to be an emotional time, I'm sure there will be a lot of folks on the ground here at KSC that it's going to be a sad time for them. The vehicle has lived here since the early 80s," said Taylor.





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FLIGHT DAY 7: ROBONAUT MOVED INTO DESTINY LAB HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 7: EXERCISING ON SHUTTLE'S BICYCLE HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 7: SPACESUIT LEAK FOUND AND FIXED HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: PREPS FOR SPACEWALK NO. 2 HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: THE SPACEWALKING TOOLS HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: MODIFYING STATION EQUIPMENT HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: FUN TIME FLOATING IN PMM HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: CREWS ENTER INTO THE MODULE HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: PMM HATCHWAY IS OPENED UP HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: OPENING PASSAGEWAY TO MODULE HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: NEW "PMM" MODULE ATTACHED TO STATION HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 6: BREAKFAST TIME ABOARD THE ORBITER HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 5: TIRED BUT HAPPY SPACEWALKERS HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 5: FLY SPACE STATION'S ROBOT ARM HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 5: CHOREOGRAPHING THE SPACEWALK HI-DEF
FLIGHT DAY 5: SPACEWALKERS GET READY TO LEAVE HI-DEF

VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 10 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY MORNING FLIGHT DIRECTOR INTERVIEW PLAY

VIDEO: CREW'S HOME MOVIES FROM FLIGHT DAY 9 PLAY
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VIDEO: CREW'S HOME MOVIES FROM FLIGHT DAY 5 PLAY

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VIDEO: LOOKING OUT THE PILOT'S WINDOW DURING LAUNCH PLAY

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VIDEO: PRESIDENT OBAMA CHATS WITH ORBITING CREW PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: ANIMATED EXPLANATION OF NEW MODULE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF MODULE INSTALLATION PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: LOOKING OUT THE PILOT'S WINDOW PLAY

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VIDEO: BOLTS ENGAGED TO HOLD OLD PUMP IN STORAGE BOX PLAY
VIDEO: FAILED PUMP MODULE FINALLY PUT INTO ENCLOSURE PLAY
VIDEO: ROBOT ARM SWINGS STEVE BOWEN AROUND THE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER HOPS ABOARD STATION'S ROBOT ARM PLAY
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VIDEO: PAYLOAD BAY DOORS OPENED IN SPACE PLAY

VIDEO: THE FULL STS-133 LAUNCH EXPERIENCE PLAY
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VIDEO: GO INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: EXTERNAL TANK CAMERA: LIFTOFF TO ORBIT PLAY
VIDEO: AERIAL VIEWS AROUND THE CAPE PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VAB ROOF PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PRESS SITE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: BEACH TRACKER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD CAMERA 070 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD CAMERA 071 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-23 TRACKER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PLAYALINDA BEACH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD FRONT CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: WEST TOWER CAMERA PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS LEAVE CREW QUARTERS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW FINISHES GETTING SUITED UP PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: LOOK BACK AT THE LAUNCH DELAYS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NARRATED REVIEW OF SHUTTLE'S PREPARATIONS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NARRATED REVIEW OF PAYLOADS' PREPARATIONS PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF PAD GANTRY ROLLBACK PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH PAD GANTRY ROLLED BACK PLAY | HI-DEF
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VIDEO: DISCOVERY'S COUNTDOWN IS UNDERWAY PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH COUNTDOWN PREVIEW AND WEATHER FORECAST PLAY
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VIDEO: DISCOVERY CLEARED FOR LAUNCH ON FEB. 24 PLAY

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VIDEO: CROWDS CHEER ON DISCOVERY'S ROLLOUT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY RE-EMERGES FROM THE VAB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH TEAM PRACTICES PROCEDURES PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: FRESH FOAM APPLIED TO EXTERNAL TANK PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: ROOT CAUSE OF SHUTTLE TANK CRACKS FOUND PLAY

VIDEO: REPAIRS AND STRENGTHENING TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DIGITAL X-RAY INSPECTIONS IN THE VAB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: WORK UNDERWAY TO REMOVE FOAM AND SENSORS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SETTING UP ACCESS PLATFORMS AROUND TANK PLAY | HI-DEF

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VIDEO: DISCOVERY DEPARTS LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LUNAR ECLIPSE OVER DISCOVERY PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FUELING TEST PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: RECAP OF THE FUELING EXERCISE PLAY
VIDEO: FUELING TEST COUNTDOWN UPDATE PLAY
VIDEO: COMMENTS FROM SHUTTLE LAUNCH DIRECTOR PLAY
VIDEO: GROUND UMBILICAL CARRIER PLATE CHECKED PLAY
VIDEO: INFO ON EXTERNAL TANK INSTRUMENTATION PLAY
VIDEO: DETAILED INFORMATION ON SPECIAL FUELING TEST PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S LAUNCH DELAYED TO FEBRUARY PLAY

VIDEO: FINAL PREPS FOR INSTRUMENTED TEST PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: STRAIN GAUGES ATTACHED TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: BACKSCATTER INSPECTIONS OF TANK MIDSECTION PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: INSTALLING DOUBLERS OVER STRINGERS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GASEOUS HYDROGEN VENT ARM RETURNED PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DOUBLERS TO BEEF UP CRACKED BEAMS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: HYDROGEN FITTING IS REINSTALLED PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: OPENING UP TANK'S ENTRANCE DOOR PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GUCP DETACHED AND SEALS REMOVED PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: BROKEN FOAM REMOVED FROM THE TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: VENT ARM LETS GO FROM LEAKY GUCP PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY AWAITS REPAIRS TO TANK PROBLEMS PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: INFORMATIVE DESCRIPTION OF TANK CRACK PROBLEM PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY'S LAUNCH DELAYED TO MID-DECEMBER PLAY

VIDEO: GASEOUS HYDROGEN VENT ARM DETACHED FROM SHUTTLE PLAY

VIDEO: STS-133 MISSION PREVIEW MOVIE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SHUTTLE DISCOVERY CREW BIOGRAPHIES PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ISS EXPEDITION 25-26 PREVIEW MOVIE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SPACE STATION CREW BIOGRAPHIES PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: POST-SCRUB NEWS BRIEFING ON LEAK PLAY
VIDEO: GASEOUS HYDROGEN LEAK SCRUBS LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: BAD WEATHER DELAYS DISCOVERY LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: ELECTRICAL ISSUE NO LONGER A CONCERN FOR DISCOVERY PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH POSTPONED BY ELECTRICAL CONCERN PLAY
VIDEO: TUESDAY MORNING'S COUNTDOWN STATUS CHECK PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY'S PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: COUNTDOWN PREVIEW BRIEFING AND WEATHER FORECAST PLAY
VIDEO: ANOTHER 24-HOUR DELAY ORDERED TO FINISH REPAIRS PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH DELAYED 24 HOURS BY LEAK REPAIRS PLAY

VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE FOR LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: FLIGHT READINESS REVIEW SETS LAUNCH DATE PLAY

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: THE STS-133 MISSION OVERVIEW PRESENTATIONS PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: IN-DEPTH BACKGROUND ON ROBONAUT 2 HUMANOID PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: PAYLOAD BAY DOORS CLOSED FOR LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW LEAVES KSC FOR TRIP TO HOUSTON PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS INSPECT THE PAYLOAD BAY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SHUTTLE EVACUATION PRACTICE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS EGRESS SHUTTLE AS SEEN LIVE PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS BOARD DISCOVERY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SUN RISES ON LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LAUNCH DAY REHEARSAL BEGINS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: COMMEMORATIVE WALL SIGNING IN VAB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW BRIEFED ON EMERGENCY PROCEDURES PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: IN SHUTTLE TRAINING AIRCRAFT'S COCKPIT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TEST-DRIVING AN EMERGENCY ARMORED TANK PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH STEVE LINDSEY PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH ERIC BOE PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH AL DREW PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH TIM KOPRA PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH MIKE BARRATT PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH NICOLE STOTT PLAY

VIDEO: PAYLOADS INSTALLED INTO DISCOVERY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: MISSION PAYLOADS ARRIVE AT LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CANISTER HAULING PAYLOADS TURNED UPRIGHT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: MODULE HOISTED INTO SHIPPING CANISTER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: WEIGHING NEW SPACE STATION MODULE PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: GANTRY PLACED AROUND DISCOVERY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SHUTTLE ATLANTIS REACHES PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CROWDS WATCH DISCOVERY'S FINAL ROLLOUT PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: SHUTTLE HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CRANE ROTATES THE ORBITER VERTICALLY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY DEPARTS ITS HANGAR PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE SHOWS DISCOVERY ASCENDING IN VAB PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE SHOWS THE MOVE TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY

VIDEO: DISCOVERY'S MAIDEN FLIGHT: FIRST TRIP TO VAB PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY'S MAIDEN FLIGHT: ROLLOUT TO PAD 39A PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY'S MAIDEN FLIGHT: TEST-FIRING ENGINES PLAY
VIDEO: DISCOVERY'S MAIDEN FLIGHT: ASSORTED VIEWS OF FRF PLAY

VIDEO: THE HISTORY OF SHUTTLE DISCOVERY PLAY
VIDEO: THE HISTORY OF SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR PLAY
VIDEO: THE HISTORY OF SHUTTLE ATLANTIS PLAY

VIDEO: INSPECTION OF THE MISSION PAYLOADS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ROBONAUT ARRIVES AT KENNEDY SPACE CENTER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SPACE STATION'S SPARE THERMAL RADIATOR PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: BLANKETING LEONARDO WITH INSULATION PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: RACK INSERTED INTO LEONARDO FOR LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: LEONARDO RETURNS FROM ITS PREVIOUS FLIGHT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: STATION'S SPARE PARTS DEPOT ARRIVES PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: ORBITER'S PAYLOAD BAY CLOSED FOR ROLLOUT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS VISIT THEIR SPACECRAFT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW INSPECTS LEONARDO MODULE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: DISCOVERY RECEIVES ITS MAIN ENGINES PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FUEL TANK MATED TO SOLID ROCKET BOOSTERS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: HOISTING FUEL TANK INTO CHECKOUT BAY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: EXTERNAL FUEL TANK UNLOADED FROM BARGE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: MISSION'S FUEL TANK ARRIVES AT SPACEPORT PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: POST-FLIGHT DESERVICING: OMS POD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: POST-FLIGHT DESERVICING: OBSS BOOM PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: POST-FLIGHT DESERVICING: ENGINES PLAY | HI-DEF
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Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE


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