Discovery Heads Home…For The Final Time!

Filed under: Entertainment,Florida News,Kennedy Space Center,Vacation Tips |

Sad to say but Space Shuttle Discovery is almost at the end of its nearly 27-year flying career. It’s scheduled to return to Earth just before noon tomorrow for the final time and just a day away from landing, Discovery’s astronauts received the first-ever live wake-up music in the history of the shuttle program this morning, a tune that was written in honor of the world’s most traveled spaceship.

The lead guitarist of Big Head Todd and the Monsters performed a solo version of “Blue Sky” … a song written by the group at the request of the 2005 crew of Discovery, which returned NASA to orbit following the Columbia tragedy. It ended up the top vote-getter in NASA’s pick-the-wake-up-music contest to mark the end of the shuttle program, just a few months away with only two missions remaining.

Shuttle commander Steven Lindsey thanked Mission Control for the special recording and at first, he didn’t realize the acoustic performance was live until Todd Park Mohr radioed his greetings. Commander Lindsey and his crew then began a test of the shuttle’s systems before the six astronauts held a ceremony to mark Discovery’s final flight.

Discovery is the world’s most flown spaceship and now faces life as a museum display. It’s the first of NASA’s three space shuttles to be retired and NASA will spend several months decommissioning Discovery before sending it to the Smithsonian Institution to live out its days.

It’s a great shame the program is coming to an end and it is the beginning of the end of a very special era. NASA managers contend the fleet still has lots of flying lifetime left but the agency is under presidential direction to aim for true outer space, which means giving up the shuttles, which are confined to orbit.

Just two shuttle launches will remain: Endeavour next month and Atlantis at the end of June. So, if you are in the Orlando area at the moment, you might just want to make the short journey over to the coast and watch the shuttle come into land… and hear those sonic booms emanate from Discovery for the final time.

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