Friday, July 8, 2011
The End of an Era
Today, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to takeoff at 11:26 AM EDT from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. This launch marks the final mission for the Space Shuttle.
I wish the astronauts of STS-135 a great mission and a safe return home.
For most people, human spaceflight has had three distinct eras. The first was the learning stage where we first sent humans in to space. The second was putting humans on the moon. The third era, the era of routine STS missions, is coming to an end with this flight. The next era remains undefined, with perhaps returning to the moon or venturing to Mars or an asteroid as possibilities.
For now, I just want to thank all of those who have worked on the Shuttle program during its 30 years and remember the sacrifice that many made for the advancement of humankind.
Michael J. Smith