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Space Shuttle Atlantis Completes Final Flight (end of an era-25 years!)

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posted on May, 26 2010 @ 01:14 PM
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—Space shuttle Atlantis returned from orbit for the last time Wednesday, closing out a 25-year flying career and safely bringing back six astronauts who boosted the International Space Station's power and size. The smooth landing was indicative of the entire 12-day mission—NASA's third-to-last shuttle flight.

The space shuttle Atlantis landed Wednesday morning at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

That was pretty sweet," Mission Control radioed after Atlantis glided through a clear morning sky and rolled down the runway. "That was a suiting end to an incredible mission."

Commander Kenneth Ham said he was ready to turn the shuttle over to the ground teams and get Atlantis "back in the barn for a little bit."

About 1,200 guests lined the Kennedy Space Center runway to welcome Atlantis and its crew home, the maximum allowable crowd. The lead flight directors for the space-station construction mission came in from Houston for the event. Space-center employees wore white ribbons with the name "Atlantis" and its picture embossed in gold. "The legacy of Atlantis now in the history books," Mission Control's commentator announced at touchdown. This was Atlantis's 32nd journey; the shuttle logged its 120-millionth mile shortly after midnight.

Only two shuttle missions remain, by NASA's two other spaceships. NASA is pushing for one more flight for Atlantis, which would need White House approval.

Atlantis—the fourth in NASA's shuttle series—is ending its run after having spent an accumulated 294 days in orbit and circling the Earth 4,648 times. It's carried 189 astronauts and visited the International Space Station 11 times. It also flew seven times to Russia's old Mir station and once to the Hubble Space Telescope. The shuttle added another 4.8 million miles this time around.

NASA would like to fly Atlantis again in June 2011, provided no rescue mission is needed for Endeavour's flight. It would be one last supply run with a four-person crew that could camp out at the space station in the event of serious shuttle damage and return to Earth in Russian Soyuz capsules.

Source: online.wsj.com...

Well, here we go. Two more shuttles and then off to Russia to get our butts to the space station. I am sure hoping we have a back up plan. Especially with all the world problems going on right now.

If a big war was to break out, let's hope the Russian are on our side
(.

Anyway, the source link has a 2 min video of the landing. Pretty cool but sad to-in a way. Sad that there appears to be no Next Generation of Shuttles for the US public to be excited about. Whats your thoughts?




posted on May, 26 2010 @ 01:17 PM
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I felt compelled to watch this live this morning, it just felt right to watch her final voyage. I am not to proud to say I felt a bit of sadness knowing there are only two left, and literally nothing but secret flights of Air force tech ahead. What has the US space agency come to now a day because of budget cuts and smears. Makes me sad really.



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 01:23 PM
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Herer is another Atlantis story. The title says one thing but the article is much more. Very interesting. Before my time of caring about the Space Shuttle Program. I found it very interesting and informative (Sure was a lot more white and gleaming back then!!!-see pic below). Enjoy

Nothing Secret About Atlantis' Last Flight
www.aolnews.com...

Atlantis lifts off for its first flight on Oct. 3, 1985.



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 01:31 PM
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Does anyone have video footage from the cockpit from start of re-entry until it lands? I've never seen one, if anybody has a link please post



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 01:43 PM
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End of an era, indeed.

Space shuttles are, or should I say were, wonderful machines, but I believe they failed to accomplish their most important mission, one they were built for - to lower the cost of launching payloads to orbit.
It is ironic that after this 30 year long detour, we will probably return back to vehicles very similar to ones we achieved so much with in the old days of Apollo.

When one era ends, another one begins..



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 02:17 PM
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reply to post by Maslo
 


Do you really think we will go back to the older ideas of lift offs? I was hoping they had something up their sleeves that things would go easier and more cost effective.

We shall see.



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 02:22 PM
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first concorde, now the shuttle.

Are we really going backwards?

No public working alternatives to either of these fabulous pieces of technology...



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 03:38 PM
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reply to post by spacedonk
 


Thats what I am saying. No back up-that we know of. They'll probably mothball one or two of the Shuttles-just in case.

I sure how they would anyway.

And I mean moth-balling them here in the USA for OUR use and not in Russia for their use.



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 03:48 PM
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Better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all.
(no idea who the author was)



posted on May, 26 2010 @ 03:48 PM
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Easy now, not so fast, the ol girl may not be done just yet. The last 3 or 4 NASA briefings on NASA tv they said they will be looking into expanding further missions with the shuttle fleet. Its budget covers 2 more shuttle missions but they looking into and hoping to extend it. The way they were talking it was like they already know the shuttle with Atlantis isn't done yet.



posted on May, 27 2010 @ 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by anon72
reply to post by Maslo
 


Do you really think we will go back to the older ideas of lift offs? I was hoping they had something up their sleeves that things would go easier and more cost effective.

We shall see.


Well, I dont think there is much you can do to improve the concept of a rocket launch, except lowering the cost. Russians already launch their cargo for less than a third of the US price, and with some private companies involvement, even lower costs are plausible.

Some technological heritage of the shuttles could be incorporated into the development of a small, simple and cheap reusable vehicle for transporting people to and from low earth orbit. This is the idea behind a Dream Chaser, one of privately developed vehicles supported by NASAs new Commercial Crew Development program.

en.wikipedia.org...(spacecraft)

In the long run, we ought to develop a superheavy launcher, similar to Saturn V or planned Ares V. Without a superheavy launcher, I doubt we will ever achieve anything considerable in space. Current plan is to begin its construction in 2015.



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