I've always been rather fond of the Space Shuttle. Yeah, it was ultimately a lot of money spent for a little amount of return, and took a terrible toll on the lives of astronauts, but I still get a thrill of excitement whenever I see video of those engines lighting up, and a Space Shuttle ponderously lifting off from the launchpad.
So one of the things on my bucket list is to go see the Discovery on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. They've got a Gemini capsule there as well. An added bonus is that they've got a Concorde, too. I remember watching the Concorde flying up the coast of New Jersey as it headed in for a landing in New York, and considered it a dark day indeed when that plane was taken out of service.
I find it sad, too, that I'm living in a time when spacecraft are being displayed in museums. I'd rather them displayed out on launchpads, with ramps full of passengers at their sides, but hey--priorities, right?
I am glad, though, that these history-making vehicles are being preserved for the public, and so I've found a list of museums where you can see America's various space vehicles, from Freedom 7 to SpaceShip One.
As for me, I'm going to visit Discovery next week, with some friends from Michigan. Seeing a rocket launch at Wallops Island's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (yes, that's MARS, kiddies!) was a bust, but I'm pretty sure that the Discovery will not disappoint me!
I just hope I don't get as teary-eyed as my wife did when she stood next to the preserved remains of Misty of Chincoteague...