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Watch as Space Shuttle Discovery Flies Over Area

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the space shuttle fly before it docks at the National Air and Space Museum at nearby Dulles Airport.

NASA's famous space shuttle from the 1980s, Discovery, will fly over the metro area on Tuesday, April 17. 

Area residents can catch a glimpse of the space shuttle orbiter as it travels from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to . Discovery will fly over the National Mall, Reagan National Airport, National Harbor, and the Smithsonian's (also known as the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center) in Chantilly. It will eventually find a permanent home at the Udvar-Hazy Center. 

In Virginia, a number will be available that passes along reports of the shuttle's whereabouts, 703-572-4100. In Maryland and Washington, D.C. the number will be 202-633-9100. People can also check on Discovery's progress online

NASA says that the best place to view Discovery's descent into the airport will be the parking lot of the Udvar-Hazy Center, though the actual touchdown will not be visible. The Smithsonian does charge a $15 fee for parking, though admission to the museum is free. The lot opens at 8 a.m. 

Discovery first launched on Aug. 30, 1984, on a mission to deploy three communications satellites. It was NASA's third space shuttle orbiter. It has completed more than 30 successful missions—more than any other orbiter in NASA's fleet. Its missions included carrying the Hubble Space Telescope into space in 1990 and two subsequent times to service the telescope.

The Smithsonian has an online feature available where people can see the inside of the space shuttle. They are also planning a range of activities for those interested in participating. 

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