Friday, July 8, 2011
Today’s mission marks the beginning of the end for the U.S. Space Shuttle Program. Mission is to deliver supplies to the space station. Landing is slated for 20 July. We can only hope that the mission is successful and safe.
This move retires an aging fleet, writes off a $10 billion development cost and lays off 3,500 NASA workers. This is part of the “flexible path” approach calling for private sector spacecraft development. Maybe China can give us a hand in the future in our “great leap forward”.
For those old fossils, like myself, who watched the early manned orbital missions, the first moon landing, and saw photos transmitted from the surface of Mars, the dream of space steps back to take a breath. As a long-time fan space and follower of space technology, I feel proud of our quest towards the unknown and hope that a new era of space exploration might eventually evolve. For now, we have only the stars in the sky.