This isn’t about communications law, or copyright law, or trademark law, or any of the other stuff we usually address here at CommLawBlog. But sometimes something happens that’s just SO COOL that you feel like you ought to let others know about it. And one of those somethings happened to us here at Fletcher Heald this morning.

The Space Shuttle Discovery flew over our office. Right over our office. Real close right over our office.

The Discovery was arriving in D.C. to take up residence at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport and, as most readers have probably already heard, on its way to that final resting place it took a victory lap over Washington. To set up that lap, the shuttle initially flew south from Dulles toward Reagan National Airport. Our offices were directly under the flight path, although we didn’t know that beforehand. We gathered at windows, looking out across the Potomac River at the memorials (Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson) and the Capitol, waiting for the Discovery to appear from down the river. And then WHOOSH – with a sudden unexpected roar of jet engines, a 747 swept past right over our heads, so near it seemed we could touch both it and the Discovery riding piggy-back on it. It flew down the river, banked back up and swung past the Mall, a total of three times, each time providing a chance for us to marvel at the graceful icon of technology on its final flight. And marvel we did.

At the dawn of the U.S. manned space program, our first astronaut, Alan Shepard, exclaimed “What a beautiful sight” as he ascended into the heavens. The arrival of Discovery today, now descending from the heavens, may mark an end of sorts to manned space exploration as we have known it for the last half century. But bittersweet though it may have been, that arrival, too, was a beautiful sight.

The photos above were taken from our offices by our paralegal, Denise Branson.