Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Sometimes there are benefits to living close to an international airport. This week, I got to experience a benefit that only comes once in a lifetime – watching the landing of the space shuttle Discovery at Dulles Airport.
The highway to the airport was PACKED with cars and people. Every bridge, on-ramp, off-ramp, and median was covered with people who had come to see the Discovery riding piggyback on a 747. All the spectators could tell when the time was getting close because helicopters magically appeared in the sky, hovering high above us. The second the planes were spotted you could hear all the cheers, shouts, and clicking cameras.
The shuttle flew right over our heads! It was the coolest thing I have ever seen!!
After returning from a quick tour of the capitol, the shuttle showed off once again by doing a nice slow flyby of route 28. Everyone was laughing and chatting – friends with perfect strangers for a moment in time.
The planes drew around for one final time, lined up to the runway, and landed forever, to the cheers of all the people around me.
It was undoubtedly one of the coolest experiences of my life. I’m sure many events will surpass this one in value, but how many people get to say they saw a space shuttle fly piggyback on a 747?!
If you are in the area and were not able to see the Discovery land, you might be able to catch the Enterprise’s take off from Dulles on April 23, 2012. (http://www.collectspace.com/shuttles/), or maybe you can catch both the Discovery and the Enterprise together on Thursday, April 19th (http://www.nasm.si.edu/collections/discovery/activity-detail.cfm?id=3784).
If you can make it, do! You’ll never forget it. :)