My most favorite memory of the NASA shuttle program to date was sitting on the roof of my Dallas home watching the shuttle orbiter streak across the sky on it’s way to a landing in Florida. The florescent trail streamed across the sky as the vehicle pushed through the superheated plama. I was amazed as I watched the ground track on the televised coverage and knew that inside that fireball were 7 humans returning from their mission in space.
It has been a while since NASA has allowed the public to witness this spectacular sight due to the risk of debris that would fall to the ground in a catastrophic event like the Columbia accident. After implementing the risk reduction suggestions, it looks like NASA is again allowing the orbiter to reenter over the continental US. With a clean bill of health after the focus inspection of the heat shield tiles, Discovery was cleared for landing on Monday.
For those who are interested in a spectacular sight that may be one of the last opportunities to witness a shuttle orbiter rentry, NASA has published the flight path and ground track of where to look as Discovery flies over.
This information is valid for the 2 morning landing attempts that are availble on Monday morning. The first opportunity would have Discovery touch down at 8:51 EST. Check back as the remaining details are released and to verify which landing attempt Discovery makes.