Atlantis: The Final Space Shuttle launch

This morning, 8 July 2011 at a few minutes after 11:35am Atlantis, the final operating Orbital Space Vehicle affectionately known as the Space Shuttle, thundered into space and into the history books.

On this Historic and bittersweet moment, please join us in thanking the entire Space Shuttle program and NASA Family including our very own Engineerd for generations of dreams and inspiration.

Our noses are pressed to our respective windows, and our necks craned up to the sky.

There is little that hasn’t already been said, and tears began flowing all over the world, but we are watching in awe yet once again, this one… final… time.

We will be following your voyage at NASA TV, where we are told there will be many interesting and historic events, ceremonies and surprises unfolding on this final and historic flight. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to follow a mission yet via their live feeds, THIS will be the one to watch.

God-speed Atlantis and crew, be safe old friend.

Still amazing after all these years.

  • aastrovan

    The Space Shuttle has to be our finest accomplishment as a nation.Go U.S.A.

    • OA5599

      The space program in general, perhaps, but I think Apollo was a gianter leap for mankind.

      • I see your point in an "inventing the wheel" -vs- "Inventing the automobile" kind of way, the latter being just a bit more sophisticated evolution of the first.

        • OA5599

          It's more than just that. Apollo put human beings on another celestial body for the first time, and brought them home safely. No other program has duplicated that feat. The world watched the Eagle land less than a decade after JFK issued the challenge.

          The shuttle fleet can take heavy hardware and a crew of astronauts into orbit. It added the element of recycleability and more capacity than earlier missions. I think the shuttles were great tools, but had nowhere near the worldwide impact or interest in science than we got from the moon shot.

          .[youtube oYRemE9Oeso youtube]

          • I've got to go with Apollo, too. Despite all the wonderful accomplishments of the shuttle program, it's nonetheless a bit disheartening to hold up a typical classroom globe and realize the maximum altitude of even the highest shuttle flight is about the width of a finger (no, not the length of a finger). Sure, it's space, but….

          • Oh I agree with you, 100%. Apollo did something gob-smack amazing while sailing in completely uncharted waters. Learning how to make a wheel and flying to the moon both transformed mankind forever and opened untold doors.

            And for sheer "PAH" factor those early astronauts and engineers had it in spades.

            My fascination with the Shuttle lies not so much with what NASA did with it, or did NOT do with it, but the sheer amount of technology developed for and contained within the vehicle. Having grown up reading about the development while it happened, right after watching the moon landings it stuck with me as an incredibly omnipotent vehicle. It was pretty damn gutsy in it's own right both symbolically and with what it was actually capable of. Go fly around, do somersaults in space, then grab a satellite and land on a runway like a jumbo jet?


            Prior to that, things came back to earth as balls of flames. (and now, they will again)

            Remember, we were sold on the idea that early follow-on concepts were supposed to shuttle us out even further and open space to everyone. And the space station was promised to be a space "station", not just a scientific experiment lab. The fact that neither scenario came to be does not diminish what an awesome and complex vehicle it was or the triumphs behind it.

            The idea that you could fly back in from space instead of dropping helplessly like a rock as before was an intensely powerful idea at the time, man fully mastering his physical and celestial world.

            Now we are back to sticks and rocks in a manner of speaking. Having experienced both eras, it seems to me we sometimes forget just how comfortable our shoes are until we realize we no longer have them.

            She may not have been as athletic as her older siblings, but she sure could sing and was sexy as hell.

            2 different awesomes from 2 different eras, the result of 2 different dreams. I appreciate them both for what they were, not for the shadows they may cast across each other in certain light.

          • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

            Well put! We took time off of our vacation to watch the launch (on TV) with our kids. It was way impressive so it should be one of those things they never forget. It's the kind of thing that might help them to grow-up and want to be an engineer, pilot, scientist, politician, whatever everything else on TV would seem to encourage them to be rock, movie, or sports star only.

    • OA5599


  • P161911

    I just hope that one day my daughter will be able to say that America has sent men into space during her lifetime. I'm proud to say that men have walked on the moon during my lifetime (Barely, a couple of weeks later and I would have missed Apollo 17.)

    • PowerTryp

      Men, Women and dare I say it? Canadians!

  • *Claps*

    Bravo, Sparky. Bravo.

    (Stay tuned for my tribute)