On Tuesday of this week The Space Shuttle Discovery took its final flight, piggybacking on top of a specially modified Boeing 747, en route to its final resting place at The National Air & Space Museum near Washington DC.
Since 1969, NASA has maintained two specially modified 747s (known as NASA 911 and 905 respectively) for the specific purpose of transporting the shuttles within Earth’s atmosphere. The planes were originally built as commercial airliners, but have since had almost all of their internal fittings stripped out and been modified for their very specific new job. Over the years the two workhorses have ferried spacecraft all over the globe but the end of the shuttle program means the end for these two workhorses as well. NASA 911 flew it’s final mission earlier this year, but NASA 905 still has a few very important final errands to run as it ferries the retired shuttles to their new homes around the US.
NASA was kind enough to publish several pictures of Discovery and NASA 905 getting ready for their final flight together, so I thought I’d share a few of them here.
I was lucky enough to catch the take off of NASA 905 and Discovery on the NASA live feed earlier this week. It was genuinely breathtaking.
If you’d like more images of the operation, you can get them from the NASA website.