Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off today on its STS-132 mission to the International Space Station - the final flight for the venerable vehicle. The Atlantis launch. Pic: NASA Atlantis departed Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A at 18:20 GMT, carrying a Russian Mini Research Module (MRM), and replacement parts and spares for …
It was a really pretty day with no clouds to block the view. I got to see it from the 3rd floor at work in Orlando, and took a movie and a ton of pics. I'll miss Atlantis, but the Shuttles are Model-Ts and we need to get a real space program. Go Space-X.
Fair winds and following seas old friend. May your final flight see you safely home. Your service was exemplary, and you have made all of humanity proud. You will be missed.
Does it need to end ?
If STS-135 "rescue mission" is unnecessary and they chose to launch it as a proper ISS mission won't they need an STS-136 on standby ?
And If STS-136 is unnecessary but ready to go and that turns into a proper ISS mission won't they need STS-137 on standby ?
Get me Charles Bolden's number, I've got an idea...
Unfortunately, it's down to the Soyuz lifeboat capsules to rescue STS-135 if it goes ahead.
You mention the possibility of a further flight if the already prepared Atlantis isn't required for an STS-134 rescue. But then they would need to prepare one of the others for launch in case STS-135 went wrong. Which in turn could then go up again as STS-136, and so on.
Oh, hang on, maybe that's NASA's master plan to keep the Shuttle going for a few more years ;-)
State of readiness
If STS-135 is readied as a safety measure, and then flies, wouldn't it need another shuttle to be readied as a safety measure? Then, of course, you wouldn't want to waste *that* one, so you'd fly STS-136. Only when you had a safety backup ready, of course...
End of an era
This really is weird reading about an actual last flight, relish these last few missions before an inevitable lull while we wait for the next 'routine' programme. That's what we really want, space travel to be routine, not some never-ending development effort.
@ Gene Cash, lol @ model-Ts
There's no point pretending you can out-think NASA and judge the shuttle "old" tech... since nobody has sent anything better for the job into space yet. Nothing is outdated until a newer version succeeds at the same job.
By the same token we would all be considered "old tech", unworthy of anything once old enough to have breed.
>>since nobody has sent anything better for the job into space yet
Really? the shuttle, which can only just make it out of LEO (as long as it's not got more cargo than two packets of crisps) isn't as good as the russian space program which has launched more space missions than any other country? And every single 2009 mission was successful (OK, one satellite ended up in a lower orbit than intended).
I love propaganda, almost as much as the chumps that swallow it.
Re: STS 135 mission
According to a article in a recent issue of the British Interplanetry Society's magazine Spaceflight, the proposed STS-135 mission, if it ever went ahead, would ferry the upgraded (basically, it would have far more micrometeroid shielding), Leonardo MPLM (Multi Purpose Logistics Module) with a full load of spare parts inside, & attach it permamently to the hull of the International Space Station...
( Note: The logo for the Leonardo MPLM, & for the other 2 MPLM's, Rafelleo & Donatello is that of the respective Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in question, wearing a spacesuit, & wielding his signature weapon...)
Hmmm, make a great backyard play-set
The kids would love to have that to play on in the back-yard.
I'll check eBay in a week or so...
"I'll miss Atlantis, but the Shuttles are Model-Ts and we need to get a real space program. "
If only it *was* like a model-T.
Driveable by nearly everyone (although by modern standards it's a pig to control)
Available to anyone with enough cash
It was more like the typical European car of the time. An extremely expensive status symbol supported by specialist staff hired *only* to support it and purchased by the extremely wealthy of the time.
People talk about space launch needing the equivalent of the 707. We have yet to see the space equivalent of the DC3. And while the North Alabama Space Administration does the thinking for US space policy, we never will.
Nice to see Ken Ham getting around