Space.com image gallery
"Space shuttle Discovery is the oldest in NASA's fleet, but will be the first to retire after one final spaceflight. NASA pulled out all the stops Sept. 20, 2010, when Discovery made its last trip to the launch pad for its final flight. The shuttle is due to launch Nov. 1, 2010."
The Lemming remembers when the first shuttle returned from orbit. For that matter, I remember when the first satellite went into orbit.
I may indulge in a little nostalgia, as the Space Shuttle program marks various 'last' events. But only a little. The Shuttle fleet has done its job, helping build the International Space Station and demonstrating that it's possible to fly freighters to low Earth orbit and back on a fairly regular schedule.
"Morning Has Broken
"Space shuttle Discovery is attached to Launch Pad 39A as the sun rises over Kennedy Space Center in Florida...." (7th of 11 images)
(from NASA, via Space.com, used w/o permission) (reduced and cropped)
There's another spaceport in Florida now, about 25 miles southwest of downtown Jacksonville: one of over a half-dozen in this country. (January 19, 2010) Many more are either in operation, or being built, around the world. A quick look at a couple of America's spaceports, and one in Europe:
- "Construction Status"
New Mexico Spaceport Authority/Spaceport America
- Europe's Spaceport
- The Oklahoma Spaceport
Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority
Exciting times, these.
- "X-51 Waverider, Bullet Trains: Change Happens"
(March 11, 2010)
- "Over Four Dozen Space Agencies (and Growing?)"
(February 28, 2010)
- "Humanity in Space: Looking at the Big Picture"
(January 29, 2010)
- "America's Seventh Spaceport"
(January 19, 2010)
- "When it's Time to Build Spaceships, People Will Build Spaceships"
(October 4, 2009)