Mission Accomplished

The Space Shuttle Atlantis landed for the final time this morning (7.21.11) and for Obama, it was another mission accomplished:  one more thing that made America great destroyed!

For so many of us, Babyboomers and those older, we remember the first attempts of the Mercury Program… the race against the Russians, the Apollo Program,  John Glenn’s flight, Neal Armstrong’s first walk on the moon, the pride, the joy and today we mourned.  We saw the birth and death of America’s manned space program in a span of 50 years.  We can only wonder if it is the precursor of what is to come for America herself?

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –  After decades of inspiring millions around the globe, space shuttle Atlantis made a final, picture-perfect touchdown at Kennedy Space Center at 5:56 a.m. EDT — ending the shuttle program.

“Job well done, America,” mission control told pilot Doug Hurley and the thousands watching and listening to the landing in the pre-dawn dark.

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There was a clear sense of nostalgia on the part of both crew and staff at Kennedy Space Center, as the ship made its final arrival safe and sound.

“Having fired the imaginations of a generation, a ship like no other, its place in history secured, the space shuttle pulls into port for the last time — its voyage at an end,” reported mission control.

“Mission complete, Houston,” Hurley responded. “After serving the world for over 30 years, the space shuttle has earned its place in history. Atlantis has come to a final stop.”

“It’s been 30 great years for the Space Shuttle program,” said Bill Nye, executive director of the Planetary Society, in a statement on the landing. “With this venerable space vehicle retired, it’s on to the next adventure.”

The shuttle signaled its approach with its signature dual sonic booms as Atlantis slowed to subsonic speeds at around 5:52 a.m. — an incredible experience, said former shuttle astronaut Tom Jones.

“Everything seems to accelerate” when you’re landing a shuttle, he told Fox News. “It’s like going down a dirt road in a dump truck.”

NASA is ending its shuttle program with Atlantis’ successful space station resupply mission. It is the 135th flight in shuttle history. This grand finale comes 50 years to the day that Gus Grissom became the second American in space, aboard Liberty Bell 7.

A record crowd of around 2,000 was gathered at NASA’s landing strip in the early morning hours to welcome Atlantis home. It was a true homecoming for Atlantis, which first soared in 1985. The next-to-youngest in NASA’s fleet will remain at Kennedy Space Center as a museum display.

Atlantis — the last of NASA’s three surviving shuttles to retire — performed admirably during the 13-day flight.

It dropped off a full year’s worth of food and other supplies at the International Space Station, just in case upcoming deliveries get delayed.

The space station’s international partners — Russia, Europe and Japan — will continue to carry up cargo loads. And Russia will keep launching American astronauts to the orbiting lab until private industry is ready to fly people up in three to five years.

Several private companies are vying for the cargo runs and astronaut ferry flights. The front-runner hopes to make its first shipment of supplies by the end of this year.

shuttle atlantis final landing

A U.S. flag that flew on the first shuttle flight in 1981 and returned to orbit aboard Atlantis, is now at the space station. The first company to get astronauts there will claim the flag as a prize.

When Atlantis rolled a stop on Thursday, it ended 30 years of space shuttle flights for NASA — an ending that NASA officials often say is bittersweet.

“I choose to view this more in terms of celebrating what we’ve been able to do, feeling very good about what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said LeRoy Cain, chair of Atlantis’ mission management team. 

News wires contributed to this report.

Fox News

640_072111_fx_shuttle_graph

Next we want to go to the Space Shuttle, we will have to hitch a ride with the Russians at an exorbitant price tag, $67 Million per astronaut.

I remember the pride we felt as a nation when JFK announced his goals for the space program. I remember the worries we all had for John Glenn when the heat shield failed.  I remember my dad making us and all our friends from the neighborhood sit down in front of the TV to watch us, American astronauts, land on the moon and then to watch Neal Armstrong take his first steps on the surface as he said, “One small step for man… One giant step for mankind.”  I remember pulling over in my car in shock when the first teacher to go into space and her fellow crew members were lost in an explosion right after takeoff.  I remember putting my daughter on a plane to the Huntsville Alabama facility to participate in a week long space camp adventure where she flew simulated space missions in the actual simulators the astronauts trained on; ending the week with a flight in an actual fighter jet.  I remember going to see the shuttle land in California.  I remember thinking how great it would be to be chosen as an astronaut.  I remember wondering which planet we would explore first.  And after today I’ll remember the overwhelming sadness of America’s dream of space exploration and being the leader in that adventure being over.

The space program represented all that was great about America and its demise should make each of us take a good long look at what is going on and why!

By MA – Posted by Ask Marion

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
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