(Updated at 10:55 a.m.) The space shuttle Discovery made its final rounds today, flying over Arlington on its way to Dulles International Airport.
The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft had Discovery attached to its back, and made a number of passes over the area, before heading to Dulles.
Spectators trying to catch a glimpse snarled traffic on many of the major thoroughfares in Arlington, including I-395, I-66 and Rte 110. Many drivers scrambling to find a spot left cars parked in tow away zones, on shoulders or on lawns in their haste. Police appeared to be temporarily lenient during the once-in-a-lifetime event, as long as the traffic violations didn’t harm public safety. Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said that with all of the people filtering in the streets to watch the shuttle, pedestrian safety was the top priority.
Hundreds of people showed up to the Marine Corps Memorial and Netherlands Carillon in Rosslyn. During the second flyover, spontaneous rounds of “The Star Spangled Banner” broke out.
Discovery is scheduled to be moved from Dulles to the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on Thursday, where it will go on public display.