Space & Astronomy
Atlantis prepares for final shuttle mission
By T.K. Randall
June 19, 2011 · 18 comments
Image Credit: NASA
After 30 years of space shuttle launches next month will see the end of an era for manned space flight.
The launch of Atlantis will mark the end of the shuttle program and the beginning of a new era for which continued trips in to space will become a lot less certain. Much negativity has been levelled towards the decision to retire the shuttles, during the 50th anniversary of the US manned space program astronauts Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell wrote an open letter stating "Nasa's human spaceflight programme is in substantial disarray with no clear-cut mission in the offing… After a half-century of remarkable progress, a coherent plan for maintaining America's leadership in space exploration is no longer apparent."
Next month the space shuttle Atlantis blasts off for its final mission. The Telegraph joined the crew preparing for what some fear is the 'funeral' of American space exploration.
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