Friday, February 25, 2011

NASA- Discovery's last flight, the end of the Shuttle Program

The Beginning of the End

Video Link

Video Link

After months of delays, on Thursday, February 24, 2011, NASA Space Shuttle Discovery launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on it's 39th and final trip into space.

Discovery will deliver new experiments and hardware to the International Space Station. Joining the six crew members is Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot to fly in space.

Discovery's flight marks the retirement of NASA's shuttle fleet. Endeavor and Atlantis will make their final flights later this year.


The Beginning

Video Link

Who remembers the first shuttle launch off the back of a 747?  I do.

The test flight of Shuttle Enterprise (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-101) on August 12, 1977, was one of the most thrilling events of my life. That test flight proved that man could ascend to the heavens above and then glide back to Earth in a reusable space ship.

I recall it well, the day Enterprise lifted off the back of the 747 and glided back to Edwards AFB, California. I was among other military familes as we gathered around a television set in the day room of the temporary family quarters at Ft. Eustes, Virginia. It was a thrilling, awe-inspiring sight for us all.

Although the Shuttle Enterprise was a prototype with no engines or heat shield, it could have (at great cost) been re-fitted and take it's place among the list of working shuttles. But alas, the program is coming to an end, Enterprise having never reached orbit.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Enterprise flew the last mission into space? Sadly, that will never happen but we can dream, can't we?


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