Friday, July 08, 2011

STS-135: Shuttle history

I've always been a fan of space. Sci Fi as well as reality. I remember as a kid watching and following the Apollo missions, the moon landing, the lunar rover, the trials of Apollo 13 (the real life one not the film). I also recall having a magazine called "Speed" I think in which the first ever issue mentioned a re-usable space vehicle, and thinking it would never happen. Well it did, and after 30 years in service (yes, it was that long ago), the final ever shuttle mission blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre as Atlantis set off for the International Space Station (ISS), another wonder in it's own right.

Whatever your views on space flight and exploration, and I'm all for it, it's amazing to see a spacecraft like this launch. One can only speculate at what it's actually like to be on board at launch time. I sneaked a view at the streamed launch on Nasa TV at work today, and my hands were sweaty and my guts tight as the launch loomed. Imagine what those sitting atop all that power were feeling!

This was history in the making. the 135th and final flight of the shuttle program. I rang the kids at home and got them to watch it on the 'net. Maybe it'll be something they remember in years to come. Maybe not. I don't think they were in quite as much awe as me.

Watch the video - it's 9 minutes but the pictures are amazing, right to the end when the main external fuel tank separates. Who'd have thought when watching jerkky B&W footage from the moon way back when, I'd be able to sit at my desk and watch a live stream of this quality..... awesome!

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