I hope you got to watch the launch of Space shuttle Atlantis on its last flight to the ISS.
Should be back in 12 days and then an era ends.
For the Apollo missions there was a goal to go to the Moon and return safely before the Russians did the same.
They had already sent spacecraft there and there was national pride at stake so better do it right.
Then the Apollo missions were cut short so that money could be spent on making a shuttle that could make a space station, and carry satellites, and do a bit of everything.
That changed over time and missions adjusted after the two shuttle disasters.
Now Space shuttle Atlantis will do a belly role for a good look over when it gets to the ISS. Am I still is one piece, no tiles damaged?
More cameras have given us a better look too, but never mind, won't need to do that any more.
- LRK -
Space Shuttle Era
NASA's space shuttle fleet began setting records with its first launch on April 12, 1981 and continues to set high marks of achievement and endurance. Starting with Columbia and continuing with Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour, the spacecraft has carried people into orbit repeatedly, launched, recovered and repaired satellites, conducted cutting-edge research and built the largest structure in space, the International Space Station.
As humanity's first reusable spacecraft, the space shuttle pushed the bounds of discovery ever farther, requiring not only advanced technologies but the tremendous effort of a vast workforce. Thousands of civil servants and contractors throughout NASA's field centers and across the nation have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to mission success and the greater goal of space exploration.
On this page, you'll find a collection of feature stories and videos documenting space shuttle operations. You'll also receive an insider's perspective of what it takes to maintain and fly this technological marvel. We'll continue to add stories and videos to this collection, so check regularly for new content.
[New content will probably be limited now. - LRK -]
You should be able to find a number of articles about this last shuttle mission.
- LRK -
In an exclusive interview with The Root, Charles Bolden talks future space missions (think Mars) and the importance of black astronauts.
- By: Cynthia Gordy | Posted: July 7, 2011 at 12:37 AM
The Root spoke with Bolden, the first African American to lead NASA, about why he thinks traveling to Mars is critical to the nation, his efforts to recruit more astronauts of color and how the final shuttle mission on Friday may leave him a bit teary-eyed.
The Root: The final shuttle launch is being lamented as the end of an era. Do you think America loses something by giving up the shuttle flights?
CB: Quite the contrary. I think we are poised on the beginning of another era. As you mentioned, we are ending an incredible 30-year era of the shuttle, which has brought in incredible advances in human exploration, technological advances and the like. However, since I became the NASA administrator [in 2009], our goal has been to safely close out the shuttle program.
That started in the previous administration back in 2004, and we're finally reaching an orderly progression of winding that program down. We're off now on the venture of exploration, trying to get humans beyond the world's orbit -- as the president has asked us to do -- onto an asteroid by 2025 and then to Mars by the 2030s.