Welcome home to our Atlantis Space Shuttle and and the STS-132 mission crew!
Just over 10 hours ago Atlantis touched down at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, concluding its 32nd and last voyage as a space workhorse. According to NASA it went as “smooth as silk.”
Upon the routine arrival inspection, the shuttle is reported by NASA engineers to be in fine repair, after 25 years reported to have the capacity to easily double the miles it has already logged – 120 million miles. [Seattle PI.]
Space Shuttle Atlantis The Space Shuttle Atlantis is towed back to the Orbiter Processing Facility after landing on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Click picture.
This fact makes it all the more difficult to fathom. It is beyond weird that our space shuttle era is coming to a close, retiring Atlantis first, then Discovery and finally Endeavour at the end of this year.
These spacecraft, their mission teams and crews have allowed us to dream we are astronauts, exploring one of our last frontiers, or engineers, enabling that exploration.
Let our medical industry salute NASA’s vast team of astronauts, engineers, aerospace professionals and its supporting industry suppliers as the STS program winds down.
…and let’s give one more pitch to President Obama – to rethink retiring this program to wait until the mid-2030’s for the Mars program, else the loss of yet anther critical national treasure further tarnishes our nation’s hope for the future.