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Discovery and the Full Circle.
Author: Raine    Date: 04/16/2012 13:10:24


There she is, preparing for her final trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center. From the Washington Post:
Riding atop a Boeing 747, the preferred taxi of all space shuttles, it should be a pretty amazing sight sometime between 10 and 11 a.m. and we want to see your views of Discovery’s final voyage.

NASA says they hope to fly Discovery at about 1,500 feet over the Mall, Reagan National Airport and National Harbor. It may also be seen from the Old Town Alexandria waterfront; Long Bridge Park, located between I-395 and the railroad tracks near Crystal City and Gravelly Point; and off the George Washington Parkway, near National Airport.
I have never had the opportunity to see a shuttle launch, but I am so grateful to have this chance to see the final voyage of the space shuttle. I have a certain personal pride as my grandfather worked and retired with a company then called Grumman. They were involved with the program, and as thus, my grandfather was as well.
Grumman was the chief contractor on the Apollo Lunar Module that landed men on the moon. They received the contract on 7 November 1962, and built 13 lunar modules. As the Apollo program neared its end, Grumman was one of the main competitors for the contract to design and build the Space Shuttle, but lost to Rockwell International. The company ended up involved in the shuttle program nonetheless, as a subcontractor to Rockwell, providing the wings and vertical stabilizer sections.
I remember him telling me that he was working on a project that would allow spaceships that were reuseable. This was in the late 70's or early 80's, and I was too young to grasp what he was saying. It was after his retirement -- and sadly after he passed -- that I would really understand that he was - in his own way - a true part of history. My grandfather-- a German Immigrant -- worked on this project.

Tomorrow we will have a chance to see the last glorious trip of Discovery. I'll be thinking of my Opa. He was there for it's infancy, and I will be there for it's final journey. There is something really amazing about that.


36 comments (Latest Comment: 04/16/2012 23:12:56 by Will in Chicago)
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