Space shuttle prepares for journey to D.C.

The space shuttle Discovery is attached to the 747 that will carry it north Tuesday morning. (Courtesy

WASHINGTON – The space shuttle Discovery is gearing up for its final journey Tuesday morning.

The 747 that will carry the shuttle from Florida to D.C. touched down on the same runway where the shuttle landed after wrapping up its final mission over a year ago, according to NASA public affairs officer Josh Byerly.

NASA’s Mike Curie said those hoping to catch a glimpse of the shuttle just have to be outside Tuesday morning between 10 and 11, or glance out of a window that overlooks the Potomac River. They’ll be able to see Discovery fly by on the back of the 747.

“This is going to be an amazing sight,” he said. “It will be hard for you to miss it.”

The best views will be from places along the Potomac, like the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the National Harbor. Old Town Alexandria and the area near Dulles will also be good spots.

With NASA retiring shuttles after building the International Space Station, its focus will turn once again to exploration — perhaps honing in on an asteroid or perhaps the moon, Curie said.

“We look fondly at the space shuttles because they accomplished an amazing amount of work over their 30-year career,” he said. “They will continue to help inspire, I think, the next generation of explorers.”

Discovery goes on display Thursday at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum near Dulles.

WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Advertiser Content