Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Shuttle Fleet Left Mark in Space, Hearts

The space shuttle left its 30 years of achievements written in the sky above and in the hearts of the astronauts, American and international, who flew in them.

"Personally, looking back on it, I think the shuttle has been one of the most marvelous vehicles that has ever gone into space or done anything," said Bob Crippen, the iconic pilot on the first space shuttle mission in 1981, and commander of three more after that.

The shuttle broke boundaries of all sorts during its career, from technological successes to reflecting the evolution of American and global society. International cooperation that was commonplace as the shuttle neared the end of its work was unforeseen when the shuttle program began.

The thousands of space workers who physically readied the fleet to fly and those who worked meticulous mental problems to calculate orbits and rendezvous along with thrust and innumerable other considerations, also shared in the successes of the spacecraft that served as NASA's flagship for three decades.

"It was not like any airplane that you've ever been on or seen or been around," said Wayne Bingham of the United Space Alliance. "It was just like a big glider that you had played with as a kid, but much more impressive. You just kind of stood in awe of what the orbiter was capable of doing."

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1 comment:

James Pailly said...

Thinking about the space shuttle is getting depressing. It was such a good space craft, lost to budget cuts. Now NASA's budget is being cut again.