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Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

20 April 2012

Two legends nose to nose

Today two legends met again nose to nose outside one of the worlds's greatest museums. The soon departing Enterprise gave away her place in the Udvar Hazy center of the NASM in Washington DC to her sister shuttle Discovery. Discovery was flown out there from KSC on the back of '905, the oldest of the two shuttle carrier aircraft, which also flew Enterprise's ALT (approach and landing test) missions in the mid-seventies.
An impressive sight, seeing those pictures of the shuttle over Washington, over the Mall and the civil airport. And Discovery has an impressive service record. An icon on its way to a museum.

The pristine white colour of Enterprise clearly contrasts with the grimy appearance of her younger sister.

After the meeting on the runway, Discovery was brought into the hall while Enterprise now awaits being hoisted on the back of ol' '905 to fly to New York. Next in line of delivery will be Endeavour, which will go to California. Atlantis will stay in Florida, on her launch grounds to be displayed there. NASA has put up a lot of very nice hi-res pics of the event on their Flickr site, great and full of details. I feel a nice diorama coming up... somewhere in the near future, that is.

Of course all of 'Merica is crying over the event like little kids because many uninformed folks think the retirement of the shuttles was much too soon and bla bla bla. Even more educated people agree on that. Even on NasaSpaceFlight there are busloads of them. No one seems to understand the necessity of the retirement of those thirty year old vehicles. And though I do admire the U.S.'s desire to preserve the fleet like they are now, after the loss of two of the fleet's shuttles, why would they still like to see the rest to continue flying? That would have been a very bad idea, in my humble opinion.

Okay, I now know Americans tear up very easily. It's a part of their national identity. But I seriously doubt their common sense now and then. I even read some of them didn't even know shuttles were transported cross country on those two special modified 747's. Oh well.
 The three remaining shuttles now are museum material and will never fly again. Next to the Spirit of St. Louis, Apollo 11, the Wright Flyer, Gemini 4, Freedom 7 and all those other brilliant flying machines, legends in their own right, the shuttles now will rest and share their magnificent career with the rest of the world.
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