Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last Flights of the First Space Freighters, New Construction at Spaceports

"Shuttle Discovery's Last Launch Pad Trip" 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, 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:Robots exploring the Solar system, spaceports popping up like mushrooms, being able to write about it on a blog: I'm living in 'The Future' right now. Not quite as it was imagined in the fifties, which is just as well. 'Serious' prognosticators missed the boat on several of the more exciting developments: including the Internet.

Exciting times, these.

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Brigid said...

For some reason the top picture made me think of The Last Starfighter.

Which I kinda want to see again.

Brian H. Gill said...


The Last Starfighter - Yeah, I see that. And it would be nice to see it again.

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