The Discovery space shuttle has officially been retired to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., and a 2004 Durango High School graduate helped get it there.
Ben Pardini was one of three men who towed the shuttle the three miles from Dulles International Airport to the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Pardini towed the Discovery so it was nose to nose with the Enterprise, the shuttle it is replacing in the museum.
To be a part of history like that, it was very emotional and very moving, he said. I love the space program and followed it closely. To be a part of it now as its ending, it was honor.
Pardini works for Signature Flight Support, a fixed-base operator at Centennial Airport. The company had a company-wide competition to determine which location would send employees to tow the shuttle.
The Centennial team won for its submission of an essay and short video about safety and towing, Pardini said. He was selected based on his personal-safety record, as well as his willingness to go above and beyond for the company, Pardini said.