Space Shuttle Discovery flying over the Washington skyline as seen from a NASA T-38 (very low on gas…)

On Apr. 17, Space shuttle Discovery, mounted atop a NASA  B747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) (NASA 905 – radio callsign “Pluto 95 Heavy”) flew  over the Washington skyline.

Chased by a NASA T-38 (radio callsign “Pluto 98”), the SCA, that had taken off from Kennedy Space Center, circled four times over the Capitol area, before landing on runway 1R at Washington Dulles airport at 11.05 LT. Civil arrivals at Dulles were temporarily placed into holdings by the ATC controllers, while the “Plutos” performed their flyover.

As the SCA moved to land, the T-38 chase was so low on gas it requested an expedited landing on runway 1C due to fuel state.

Someone noted the T-38 pilot had a frog in his mouth. Not for watching the last landing of OV103, but for his own fuel status?

Photo Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

Discovery, the first orbiter retired from NASA’s shuttle fleet, completed 39 missions, spent 365 days in space, orbited the Earth 5,830 times, and traveled 148,221,675 miles.

NASA will transfer Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum.

On Apr. 23, NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) with Enterprise will fly at a relatively low altitude over various parts of the New York City metropolitan area between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. EDT.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.