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Posted at 09:08 AM ET, 04/18/2012

A bell tower view of Discovery over Washington, D.C.

Discovery flies over Washington. This was the first pass over the city, viewed from the Netherland Carillon bell tower. (Kevin Ambrose)
Ascending the steps up into the 50-bell Netherlands Carillon tower is an amazing experience. The 360 degree view of Washington and Rosslyn is beautiful. Throw in several flyovers by the space shuttle Discovery and it’s a simply breathtaking sight.

The National Park Service permitted the media to access to the Netherland Carillon’s tower Tuesday morning to photograph the space shuttle flying over Washington. The tower is usually closed to the public for safety reasons but offers one of the best views of Washington and the surrounding area.

Related: Reader photos - Discovery Shuttle flies over Washington, D.C.

The Capital Weather Gang shared a prime spot on the tower’s platform with NBC. Several other media groups lined the railing nearby.

Continue reading for more photos of Discovery.

Discovery flew very close to the Netherlands Carillon on three different passes over Washington. This was the second fly-over of the city. (Kevin Ambrose)

As we waited for Discovery to arrive, I was tempted to give the NBC cameramen some photography tips of how we shoot the monuments in this town but I doubt they would share my sense of humor so I just remained quiet. Ultimately, we did not have to wait long for Discovery to arrive.

The shuttle arrived over Rossyln at 9:55 AM and headed east toward Washington. It made at least three loops around the city before departing for Dulles Airport around 10:30 AM. The flight path of the loops varied and Discovery covered a lot of ground across the area.

It was quite a sight for us in the tower as the shuttle was visible for most of its loops around the city. Higher resolution images of Discovery’s Washington flyover scenes are available here.

Discovery flew close to the Netherlands Carillon. This was the third fly-over. (Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery flies over Washington. This is a wider view than the first image displayed. This was the first pass over the city. (Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery appears over Rossyln on its first approach to Washington. (Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery circles around Rosslyn on its second loop around the city. (Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery appears perched on top of the Washington Monument. This was the second pass over Washington. (Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery flies over the Mal on its second pass over Washington.(Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery flew almost directly over the Netherlands Carillon on its first fly-over of the city. (Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery flies over the Jefferson Memorial and banks towards the Capitol. This was the first pass over Washington. (Kevin Ambrose)

The Jefferson Memorial with Discovery in the distance. This was the third pass over and around Washington. (Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery flies over Fort Meyer during a wide loop around the city. (Kevin Ambrose)

Discovery flies up and away. It landed at Dulles Airport after making at least three loops over Washington. (Kevin Ambrose)

Waiting for Discovery to arrive. This is a wide view showing the photographers below and Washington in the distance. (Kevin Ambrose)

The bells of the Netherlands Carillon. They remained quiet during our photo shoot. (Kevin Ambrose)

By  |  09:08 AM ET, 04/18/2012

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