I was seriously thinking in not coming to this historic event. Being a space fan for so many years, I was not sure if I really wanted to see Discovery go away. I was ok with the fact that I could see her final real launch and landing from her last space mission and maybe I wanted to keep those images in my mind, yes, as a working spaceship standing in front of me.
Well, I'm glad I finally decided to come. Discovery, once again, gave us a show to remember. Nostalgic, yes, kind of sad too, but I could say I ended up with a smile in my face. It was not only because we could see her once again, this time flying over KSC and the Space Coast, but also because of the atmosphere you could perceive all around. A strong feeling of proud, love and respect for a beautiful and loyal Spaceship.
Discovery took off minutes before 7am from the Shuttle Landing Facility on top of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), a modified Jumbo 747, and spent like 30 minutes flying over the area, saying goodbye to thousands of people, between NASA employees, Press and Space Fans gathered along the Space Coast.
I had the unique opportunity to be for the first time at the roof of the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) and we were a little concerned about the light, was not enough yet, sun was just coming up. When Discovery approached the VAB during the first flybye, it was just about to be over our heads and then it turned East, so the pilot of the 747 set Discovery directly towards the cloudy Sunrise. "This pilot was a photographer in his previous life!", we started to say to each other, all focused in our viewfinders. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew we were there, and he wanted us to have a view to remember. Thank you.
More pictures: www.flickr.com/photos/mannolo/sets/72157629478961010/