Shuttle Atlantis just lifted off on its final voyage. There are 2 shuttle missions left before the end of the shuttle program. I suggest not missing a single launch, and if possible seeing them live. The shuttle program has to be the most inspirational scientific program currently operating. Nothing really makes me more proud to be a human being, or living in the times that we do than watching one of these rather good looking vehicles get launched into the heavens and far beyond.
Really looking forward to another more ambitious space program from anywhere at all, since it seems NASA won’t be pursuing constellation. =(
But let’s look at Atlantis’ rich history. This good ship has flown 32 missions ( 31 of which have completed successfully, with 32 looking beautiful ). She’s been in the shuttle fleet since her flight readiness firing Sept. 5, 1985. 25 years this shuttle has been in service, defying a decision to decommission it in 2008. Atlantis was intended to be relegated to a support role for Endeavor and Discovery, but Atlantis was born to fly and that’s just what she’s doing right now at 2500 mph.
Atlantis made history June 29 of 1995 when she was the first shuttle to dock with the Mir space station as part of STS-71. Before that during STS-30, Atlantis launched the first interplanetary probe launched from a shuttle. The Magellan probe was sent to explore Venus.
Many people have contributed to Atlantis’ successful missions over the years, but Rockwell International has the distinction of having built her. So to the engineers over there, I am sure today’s flight is especially gratifying.
Anyways, Atlantis, from all the folks at NYC Resistor. Thanks for being utterly amazing. Enjoy retirement, I hope you find a really great home.
Fun Fact, Atlantis has traveled 115,770,929 miles ( 186,315,250 km ) and counting…