With the final space shuttle launch, a great period of technological advancement as man reached out into space will come to an end. For me, this holds a special place, as I had the fortune to grow up minutes from the Kennedy Space Center complex, and though I no longer live there, the memories of everything will stick with me forever.
The Space Transportation System (STS) was a marvel of engineering and technology when it was conceived. Though it had been thought impossible, the ingenuity of man, along with a huge team of dreamers and thinkers, made it happen. And seamlessly, mankind moved from expendable rocketry to reusable and viable space transport. It was the birth of a new era; one from which we have derived soda cans, Velcro, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), Aircraft anti-icing systems, groundbreaking medications that can be made only in microgravity, reverse lightning rods, fire resistant housing materials, an implantable heart resynchronization device, better and cheaper manufacturing methods for contact lenses, lightweight lifesaving equipment for emergency personnel, better methods of forecasting severe weather, and of course, Tang, the orange powder drink so often associated with the space program.
Less than a few weeks remain until the Space Shuttle Atlantis makes it’s final launch into space, which will mark the culmination of thirty years of space travel for these reusable craft.
Thirty Years is a long time, and the Space Shuttle program has accomplished much in that span of time. Though some missions have seemed routine, all have been important contributions to science and space flight as a whole. As NASA’s STS Missions come to a close, let’s look at some of the more notable Space Shuttle flights and some interesting facts and figures from over the years.
The Space Shuttle program has meant a lot for fans of Science Fiction, with Star Trek being no exception. Even here in UFOP: SB118, four of these incredible machines have lent their names to ships in our fleet.
STS-135, the final mission for NASA’s Space Shuttle, is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral on July 8th, 2011. This launch will mark the beginning of the final journey into low-earth orbit for the Shuttle Atlantis and the shuttle program itself.
In this three-part series, we will look at the brief history, facts and figures, and the future of the Space Shuttles themselves. In this installment, thanks to NASA and the Youtube channel Airboyd.tv, we will let Star Trek’s own William Shatner give a brief summary of the legend that is NASA’s Space Shuttle. CLICK HERE