Tag Archives: atlantis

Atlantis lands, ending 30 years of space program

In what can only be described as an emotional moment, the space shuttle Atlantis landed before dawn at Kennedy Space Center’s Runway 15, ending 30 years of space shuttle flights.

“Atlantis is home,” said NASA control moments after its arrival at 5:56 a.m. ET. “Its journey complete. A moment to be savored.”

Savored it was, but there sour taste of regret was also present.

“We really wish we could share with everybody this really cool glow,” Commander Chris Ferguson radioed as he and his crew entered the Earth’s atmosphere in a plasma of heated air before touching down. “We’re doing fantastic.”

The landing, as perfect as it was, remains bittersweet, as knowingly sorrowful NASA employees greeted the fabulous space shuttle for one last time. Everybody recalled the incredibly thrilling moment when Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, inspiring the next generation to launch and perpetuate the space program; now, this era has come to an end.

“It’s definitely the end of the era. The shuttle has been a magnificent flying machine, an engineering marvel, but it has consigned Americans for two generations to low-Earth orbit. I think that’s a negative.”

That is a matter of debate, especially since now, Americans will have to hitch Russian rides for suborbital travel, until the arguably better option of relying on private commercial companies for space flight appears.

“I hope we won’t lose a whole generation. Kids get excited by exploration,” Dick said. “I think NASA, in some ways, is doing the right thing by off-loading the routine work of the space shuttle. The only problem is we’re a long way from getting something that will take us out of low-Earth orbit.”

“The Space Shuttle has been the iconic symbol of NASA for the last 30 years,” NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said. “We’re going to have a different icon. We do aeronautics, climate research, deep space exploration with our telescopes, planetary observations with probes and rovers.”

The STS 135 crew met with a standing ovation from the crowd. From left to right: Mission Specialists Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus, Pilot Doug Hurley Shuttle Commander Chris Ferguson. (c) Ken Kreme

NASA’s last ever shuttle mission in photos

Despite unfriendly whether filled with low lying clouds and a last moment countdown glitch, which gave of all the 750,000 spectators gathered at Kennedy Space Center venue to witness the launch a pretty big scare, Atlantis was catapulted into low-orbit with dazzling success yesterday, July 8th.

Photo by NASA.

STS 135 was, as the name implies, the 135th and final shuttle mission, marking an end to more than 30 years of breath taking flights, and hopefully clearing the way for a new era of more advanced, safe and economic means of space transportation.

Take it as a weekend treat or simply as a tribute to the iconic shuttle missions, in this post I’ve taken the liberty to scour the internet for illustrated moments of the shuttle’s grand finale.




STS-135 mission crew: commander Chris Ferguson (centre right in photo), pilot Doug Hurley (centre left), and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. (c) NASA

Final ever shuttle mission scheduled for July 8

STS-135 mission crew: commander Chris Ferguson (centre right in photo), pilot Doug Hurley (centre left), and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. (c) NASA

STS-135 mission crew: commander Chris Ferguson (centre right in photo), pilot Doug Hurley (centre left), and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. (c) NASA

NASA just confirmed the shuttle’s last-ever mission will launch on July 8th. The space shuttle Atlantis will blast off headed for the International Space Station this Friday for a very important mission, in which it will deliver the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to the orbiting outpost, bearing supplies, food for a whole year and spares.

The 12-day STS-135 mission will be launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This will be the 135th shuttle mission, Atlantis’ 33rd flight and the 37th shuttle mission to the station.

Bill Gerstenmaier, assistant administrator for space operations, said: “We had a very thorough review. This flight is incredibly important. The cargo that is coming up on this flight is really mandatory for space station.”

Mike Moses, Space Shuttle Program launch integration manager, chipped in with: “We’re really looking forward to achieving this mission, putting station where it needs to be and finishing strong with the shuttle program here with STS-135.”

Besides the Raffaello logistics module, Atlantis will also be responsible for delivering the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), which in a nut shell can be considered as a ‘robot gas station’ designed to try out the tools, technologies and techniques needed to refuel satellites in space. This also includes satellites that were never designed to be serviced. So, a pretty fitting important job for NASA’s last ever shuttle mission before permantely shelving it.

When it returns from its final 12-day trip, Atlantis will be put on permanent display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.


Endeavour’s last launch put on hold for at least a week

Space shuttle Endeavour was set to launch a few days ago, and everything seemd to go according to plan; however, technical difficulties are forcing the NASA engineers to delay the launch at least until the end of the week (probably more), which is bad news for everybody who had planned a visit to the launch site (including president Obama and his family).

Technicians need to replace a switch box in the engine compartment, NASA stated; astronauts and their families were still hoping for a launch today, but NASA was pretty direct in saying that this is not an option.

Endeavour is set to go on its last trip, in a mission that will be led by veteran Mark Kelly, who is probably also on his last mission. The space shuttle will make a two week visit to the International Space Station (ISS), and its goal is to deliver a highly sophisticated astrophysics device that will help in the search for particles, as well as the elusive dark matter. After this last mission, Endeavour will be retired, alongside Discovery, and will be joined later by the last active space orbiter, Atlantis. The retirement of Atlantis will mark the end of an era for NASA, as well as for space exploration.

The lost city of Atlantis found, allegedly [FULL DOCUMENTARY]

Illustration via crystalinks (you can find more intriguing info on Atlantis there).

Some of you may remember the Google Earth Atlantis finding from a few years back that made rounds on the internet before eventually turning out to be just hot air. Tomorrow a new documentary is airing on National Geographic called Finding Atlantis which tells the story of Richard Freund’s work, a professor at the University of Hartford, Conn., and that of his international team of Atlantis-seekers.

According to Plato, the mythical city of Atlantis, hypothetically dated by scholars at around 9600 BC, was the foremost naval power of its time and place of prosperity and culture. It’s said that after a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune”. Archeologists, scientists, and even poets and painters have dwelt in its search and while it has inspired our imagination throughout history, we’ve yet to found any conclusive evidence of its existence.

Professor Freund and his team claim they have this piece of evidence, after finding a submerged city just north of Cadiz, Spain, very near the Strait of Gibraltar where Atlantis is mythically placed on all accounts, including Plato. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis.

“We found something that no one else has ever seen before, which gives it a layer of credibility, especially for archeology, that makes a lot more sense,” Freund said.

Archeologists used satellite photography, ground-penetrating radar, and underwater technology, to find the lost site, along with artifacts dating from around the time of the said lost city of Atlantis. What’s very curious however is that, regarding the theory of its disappearance, scientists seem to agree that in the event the city actually existed Atlantis very likely was swept away by a tsunami!

“This is the power of tsunamis,” head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.

“It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that’s pretty much what we’re talking about,” said Freund

Freund believes that the residents of Atlantis managed to escape the tsunami and created more Atlantis-type settlements in the central regions of Spain. He bases this on his discovery of several more so-called memorial cities 150 miles inland from what he now believes might be the original Atlantis.

UPDATE: Check out the full documentary below.