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Video The Space Shuttle Discovery's Last Mile (Video) 101

Timothy Lord was in the closest civilian parking lot to where the Space Shuttle Discovery touched down from her last flight -- as a passenger on top of a 747, but it was still a space shuttle flying... a flight that was the sad epitaph for an American era. Timothy's shots of the landing approach are much like all the others you've seen. What's interesting is the variety of people he talked with. One came all the way from Tokyo. And there was the young man who got a Master's in Aeronautical Engineering to work on the space program, which sadly shut down, and who is now looking for a job with SpaceX or one of the other private space-bound companies. We hope there are lots of opportunities in the near future for him, and for thousands if not millions of others who want to go into space or, ground-bound, help our efforts to go where only science fiction writers' imaginations have gone before.
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The Space Shuttle Discovery's Last Mile (Video)

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @08:17AM (#39721571)

    I know the space shuttle was flawed, expensive, probably too dangerous, etc etc. But the lesson here is that it will be replaced by... not much.

    The shuttle is the most visible sign of humanity in regression: mankind is slowing down - literally, it is more or less abandoning manned space exploration, science is giving way to obscurantism, governments are slowly tightening their grip on their populations, ...

    I remember when I was a kid in the 70s, I used to think I might go into space myself, with any luck, before I'm old. I used to think people would be more and more educated, and we were seeing the last vestiges of religiosity clinging on. Technology and education would be victorious, and mankind was on its way to the stars. Bright days ahead I thought...

    The exact opposite is happening today. I think it's the sign of the cost of energy: mankind is regressing as cheap energy is disappearing. The shuttle is just one of the things mankind is giving up on.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @08:30AM (#39721657)
    Its a tad sad to see Discovery gutted and turned into a (oversized) museum piece. The Space Shuttles were an inspiring symbol of successful manned spaceflight when I was growing up. Lots of little boys around me wanted to be "Astronauts" or "Pilots" when they grew up, and wanted to visit Cape Canaveral some day, because the Space Shuttle launces were a beautiful and exciting spectacle. RIP Discovery. Symbol of science beating the odds. At least museum visitors will get to take up-close pictures of her now.
  • by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @08:31AM (#39721667) Homepage
    It really is hard to believe it's all over. I grew up as a schoolboy with the Space Shuttle "coming sometime in the next decade", and then watched the first launch avidly in 1981 - I still remember the exact details of that particular afternoon because it was one of those historic "remembered where you were" moments. I also queued for hours on the M11 to get to see the Shuttle on her UK visit (on the 747 carrier) to Stansted in 1983. Another historic moment was the '86 disaster but that seems strangely more remote in time than the first launch, somehow. I don't know where all those years went, but they did - I'm going to turn 50 this year. From a Brit, it's sad to see this era of early space travel come to an end with nothing much on its way to replace it. Truly historic.
  • by psyclone241 ( 733888 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @09:09AM (#39721965) Journal
    5 Horrifying Facts You Didn't Know About the Space Shuttle [forbes.com] and this one, which is linked in the above story.... For Parts, NASA Boldly Goes . . . on eBay [nytimes.com]

The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.