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Space & Astronomy

Shuttle launches in historic final flight

By T.K. Randall
July 8, 2011 · Comment icon 20 comments



Image Credit: NASA
Space shuttle Atlantis has launched successfully from Cape Canaveral for the very last time.
The weather had made a launch look unlikely however remained clear enough for things to go ahead. The shuttle will ferry 3.5 tonnes of supplies to the International Space Station on a mission that will last 12 days and mark the end of the space shuttle program that has lasted over 30 years. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden remained optimistic about the future however - "The future of human spaceflight is bright," he said. "You'll hear me say that over and over and over again, so you need to print it."
The 135th and final space shuttle mission has lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Space shuttle Atlantis was launched into history at 1129 local time (1529 GMT; 1629 BST) on Friday. The 12-day mission will ferry 3. 5 tonnes of supplies to the International Space Station.


Source: BBC News | Comments (20)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by Eldorado 11 years ago
I remember sitting up as a kid watching the first shuttle launch.. Aye, tis sad. Can remember watching the Apollo launches in the early 70's. I imagined at that time that we'd soon have people living and working on a moonbase. (.... and that I'd be in charge. A moon captain instead of the space cadet I've turned into) I fervently hope it will be not the last ever manned space-mission I see launched.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Esoteric Toad 11 years ago
Just think of it this way, the president wants a whole new generation to experience the feeling of 1961 again. What a visionary
Comment icon #13 Posted by Alex01 11 years ago
Oh lord, I couldn't help but to smirk a tear. There is a lot gone into that wonderful and gorgeous machine. Shuttle will fly in all of our hearts.
Comment icon #14 Posted by The Silver Thong 11 years ago
Well, The "space race" actually ended back in 1968, Silver. But I think I know what you're talking about. We are working on heavy lift booster designs, and a spacecraft. Private industry will be working designs as well. The future? Who knows exactly what it holds? We may be seeing NASA , or a private company managing a booster, or, a combination of the two, working together to provide access to the ISS, and access to space outside of Earth orbit. It's so hard to predict these days. All it takes is a new President, and the political winds blow and entire initiative out of the water, propose ano... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by ROGER 11 years ago
Politics aside we are still fighting the biggest problem of all. Our planets gravity. I have no idea what we could use but another , cheaper way of getting material to Low Earth Orbit would really kick start the Explorer dream many of us have. In my opinion Moon base mining for resources or even asteroid mining for water , fuel, and air will get us to the edges of our solar system. But these are a long time off as of right now because we cant get the tools to do it up there.
Comment icon #16 Posted by MID 11 years ago
Hi ya Mid. Ya the space race did end as soon as the US landed a man on the moon but there was always more compitition to be had. To bad the last 9 years have been wasted on war and not working on the next generation of space craft. Will a new president do anything to revive NASA? Silver-- I think a new President could do a great deal to revive NASA...spiritually, that is! They need a concrete direction, and a mandate, supported by a Congress who understands the value of space exploration. Many need a job. This cycle of a new President, a mandate, a great Administrator who turns everything arou... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by MID 11 years ago
Politics aside we are still fighting the biggest problem of all. Our planets gravity. I have no idea what we could use but another , cheaper way of getting material to Low Earth Orbit would really kick start the Explorer dream many of us have. In my opinion Moon base mining for resources or even asteroid mining for water , fuel, and air will get us to the edges of our solar system. But these are a long time off as of right now because we cant get the tools to do it up there. I think you have it ROG. We need the lift, and we need the craft.
Comment icon #18 Posted by DONTEATUS 11 years ago
Let me rub my two magic coins together ! ()()()()() Poof ! Now we are talking ! Maybe a few trillion dollars will help out the NASA short fall? Bring back a few Hundred thousand troops from a mindless war you say? Start spending the money on the needs of the Planet,people,growth,health you say? Sounds impossible you say ! Its not actually,ITs all in the way that all the people vote and demand of our elected officials that gets things done. THe excuse comes from a number of people on this rock that have the key to the bank. Greed is the overpowering game plan here. NASA really deserves all we c... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by Xpeople 11 years ago
What is sad about this is that NASA is going to retire the best spacecraft ever built and nothing to replace it with?
Comment icon #20 Posted by MID 11 years ago
What is sad about this is that NASA is going to retire the best spacecraft ever built and nothing to replace it with? This was not a sad day. This was a day for celebration, and by God we did somepartying today! Some of the greatest people anywhere were honored, awarded, and fed well! Not to say there weren't some tears...but over all, they were tears of joy at an astounding accomplishment. What's on the boards are several private spacecraft being developed for LEO applications, and NASA will be working Orion and Heavy Lift vehicle plans for exploration missions. i know it's been a lot to foll... [More]


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