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Old 04-20-2011, 03:16 PM   #1
mimartin
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End of an ERA in Space Program.

I’d like to keep this thread from being really political, but I doubt that will happen.

Right now, June 28, 2011 is the last scheduled fight of the Space Shuttle. Atlantis is planned to make the last Space Shuttle flight STS-135. Enterprise made the first free flight on August 12, 1977 and STS-1 by Columbia launched on April 12, 1981. So after almost 30 years of space flight the Space Shuttle Program will be grounded.

30 years almost seems like an eternity to me for a space craft to be used, however the technology used in the Space Shuttle is even older than that. NASA began working on the Shuttle Program in 1968 (“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed” did not even happen until July 20, 1969.)
spoiler:
If you don’t know what that is in reference to get the hell out of this thread.

Nixon gave the actual go-ahead for the Space Shuttle program in 1969.

Anyways they are finally retiring this technology. However the awarded locations is causing some controversy.

Discovery is being sent to Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Enterprise is being moved from Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum to Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York.

Endeavour will be sent to California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Atlantis will be displayed at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

“Houston, we have a problem”

As you can imagine Houston is upset by this development. Personally I don’t think you can argue with the Smithsonian or Kennedy Space Center. That leaves New York and Los Angeles. Should they have been awarded a Orbiter over Houston? My heart says no, but my mind says yes. New York and Los Angeles are number 1 and number 2 on the most visited U.S. cities. While Orlando is number 4 and Washington D.C. is number 8, Houston does not even make top 10. Most of the people around here already support NASA, it make sense to me to market the program to the rest of the country and the world. Still it is a shame that Space City will not have a Orbiter.

What are your thoughts on the Shuttle Program? Including where were you when you learned about either Shuttle disaster?

NASA in general?

Orbiter location?

Furture Manned Missions? Including Commander Mark Kelly commanding the planned April 29th final launch of Endeavour?

President Obama and family attending the April 29 launch of Endeavour?

I remember both disasters. The Challenger disaster I watched in disbelief with a bunch of friends on a TV in a junior college waiting area between classes.

During the Columbia disaster I was driving in my car with my best friend to Austin for a UT basketball game. That friend happens to be a computer engineer who works for a NASA contractor. He also happens to work on the Shuttle Program and has since 1987.
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