Discovery Departure (Part 2: PHOTOS)

Lofty Ambitions flew to the Space Coast to follow space shuttle Discovery on its final departure from Kennedy Space Center. Doug arrived early Saturday morning, and Anna arrived on Sunday evening. We’ll have several posts in our series “Discovery Departure” as we relay our adventures in Florida and then in the Washington, DC, area, where the orbiter will reside in the Udvar-Hazy Facility of the National Air & Space Museum. Today, we offer a photo essay of the final mating of Discovery to NASA’s 747 and the last-ever takeoff of the workhorse of the space shuttle fleet. More tomorrow!

Anna helps place orbiter on NASA's 747
Yes, Lofty Ambitions was THAT CLOSE to the Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle Discovery atop the 747 for transport to Udvar-Hazy
Discovery with her last-ever crew
Michael Barratt, STS-133 Mission Specialist. We had a long chat with Barratt yesterday, and he's in our series of video interviews.
Alvin Drew, STS-133 Mission Specialist . He's an enthusiastic astronaut who hopes to get back to the International Space Station soon.
Discovery's nose attached to the 747
This and the attachment at the nose is all that affixes the orbiter to the 747. Lucky it's all very aerodynamic.
T-38s flown from Johnson Space Center by STS-133 crew
Lofty Ambitions with the mated orbiter
Kennedy Space Center Control Tower with shuttle gazers waiting for takeoff
Discovery stops during taxi for a photo op.
Discovery nose to nose with 747
Final Taxi Before Departure
Mated, Discovery takes off north to south.
Takeoff! But wait--there's more!
Discovery returns for a flyover!
Close-up of Discovery on its final flight
Goodbye, Discovery! See you at the museum.

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