Through the launch and maintenance of the International Space Station and the Hubble telescope, NASA’s numerous Space Shuttle projects have afforded us a great many photographic wonders. Earlier this week, though, the Space Shuttle itself was the subject of photographers’ attention, as Discovery made its final journey from the Kennedy Space Centre to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. As part of this farewell flight, Discovery was flown – tethered to a Boeing 747 – past a number of US landmarks in Washington, including the White House and the Washington Monument, to the delight of thousands of onlookers. Naturally, this flypast provided unique photographic opportunities – and many photographers were present to take advantage.
The Telegraph have collected a number of the finest photographs from this final journey and displayed them on their website. Since Discovery was the shuttle which launched the Hubble telescope in 1990, it’s a fitting tribute to a project which has contributed immeasurably to our knowledge of the solar system and the rest of the universe, and provided us with some unforgettably impressive images of them too. Some of the photographs of the flypast are extremely eye-catching.
The future of the United States’ manned space missions is currently open to speculation. President Obama has expressed optimism towards a future mission to Mars, although NASA’s immediate concerns have been scaled back in light of the current economic circumstances. Nonetheless, a new vehicle, known as Orion, is in development, with a projected date of around 2020 for the next manned mission. In the meantime, the Hubble telescope is projected to remain in operation throughout the rest of this decade, serving up more staggering images of deep space. Click here for further information.