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April 29, 2012

Shuttle Enterprise fly-by and Pneumonia

Just two highlights of an interesting week in New York.

I was in NYC for the past week taking care of my client obligations… Y’know the usual work gig.  This week however had a couple of added twists.  I already wrote about my trials in simply getting to the Big Apple… It only got more challenging from there.  On day two, I started to notice the onset of what I initially thought was a sinus infection… Upon my return to Denver and subsequent doctor’s visit I learned that nope… I have pneumonia.

One of the real highlights however of the past week, outside of some genuinely successful and rewarding client visits was that I had the opportunity to witness the last flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.  Although using the adjective “Space” in her naming is a bit of a stretch considering “Enterprise” never experienced space travel.  “Enterprise” was the designated test article of the shuttle program, specifically built to test the glide and landing characteristics of the new vehicle.  But still a cool piece of hardware associated with a now bygone era in America’s declining dominance in Space exploration.

Originally Enterprise was scheduled to fly from Dulles where she had previously resided as a major attraction at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Part of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Complex) on Monday of this past week, however due to the same storm front that forced my unexpected stop in Philadelphia the transport was delayed until Friday.  Enterprise was being flown to New York as the first step in transferring her from the Smithsonian to her new home onboard the USS Intrepid Museum.  The Smithsonian had received the Shuttle Discovery the week before and was swapping exhibits.

So on Friday morning I identified the flight route the Shuttle and Shuttle Transporter (a modified Boeing 747) were to fly and realized that she would be coming right up the Hudson River doing a U-turn around the Tappan-Zee bridge, about 4 miles from our office.  So there was a good chance I would be able to see this historic flight for myself if I was able to attain a good vantage point.

As the time approached, I stepped into my Boss’s office (the CEO of our company) and said, “Hey, y’wanna go see the shuttle fly by?”  To which, my slightly confused boss said “Sure!”

Out the door we went, looking for a good vantage to a westerly view.  The top level of the Parking garage at the White Plains Train Station was the perfect spot, if we couldn’t see her from there, we wouldn’t see her from anywhere in the town. We hustled on over and got to the top level right on time, we were up there only a couple of minutes when from the south approached the mated pair, Shuttle and 747.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my Big 300mm lens attached, but I did the best I could with the 200mm I had.  This first image gives you an idea about our general view…

shuttle fly-by4

Then with the zoom capabilities I did have I captured these…

shuttle fly-by2

shuttle fly-by

And then as she began her final turn back to the south and her eventual home in Manhattan…

shuttle fly-by3

I was glad I had the opportunity to witness this first hand, yet saddened by the fact that the United States appears resigned to no longer leading the way in Space and Science exploration…

At the arrival of the Shuttle Discovery at Dulles last week, a young child asked a current NASA astronaut what he should study in school in bettering his chances of one day becoming an astronaut… the Current Astronaut simply replied “Study Russian”.

Ouch… Truth hurts…

April 29, 2012 in Aviation, Current Affairs, Just Plain Cool | Permalink

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Nice chance to see this historic flight. :)

Posted by: freight factoring company | Jul 4, 2012 8:01:48 AM

Her original name was "Constitution"

Posted by: KenofSoCal | Apr 30, 2012 12:31:38 PM

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