Discovery Fly Out
17 April 2012

Just before sunrise on Tuesday, 17 April 2012, Space Shuttle Discovery flies off for the last time heading for a new life as a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. This collection of images captures the departure from the combined VIP & news media viewing area at the midpoint of the runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF).

RIGHT: A sign points out two of the more common sights seen around Kennedy Space Center over the last thirty years.

People begin to gather in the predawn hours. The tower in the center of the image is the control tower for the SLF. A forest of broadcast towers looms over the army of news media covering the event.
First light reveals the crowd gathered to see Discovery on its way: a mixture of space fans, KSC workers, military personnel, astronauts, news media, family members, et al.
Discovery is revealed moving slowly over the treetops as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), a modified 747, taxis from the south end of the runway.
The SCA stopped in front of the viewing area making for a great photo opportunity!
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