Thursday, July 28, 2011

First and the Last

The thirty year shuttle era has ended, with the last glide to touchdown happening last week:

Before it did though, I snapped my own personal memento of the era, as Atlantis passed over my house a few orbits before re-entry:
I remember the very first landing in 1981. It was shown on TV late at night here, and I remember my sisters and I being got out of bed to watch. While not yet five, and having only just attended the first airshow I would remember a few weeks before, I recall saying how steep the final approach looked, and wondering why it took so long for the nose to come down after the mainwheels touched (the concept of aerodynamic braking being a few years ahead of me).

I guess my parents thought it would be a historic thing for us to watch and remember, and I'm glad they made the effort. Atlantis' pass last week was just before bedtime for Charlotte, so I got her outside and she saw it too. She described it as 'the star that was hitting the other stars' and 'Oh yes a spaceship' if prompted further. Being not quite 3 she probably won't remember it, but at least I'll be able to tell her she saw the last Space Shuttle fly.

I found this on another site and quite like it (photo credit Chris Bray):
I can relate. My generation grew up with the shuttle, and love it or hate it, for all it's costs and compromises and never quite living up to it's promise it was iconic. It had failures, but had many more moments of greatness. The aerospace world will be slightly less interesting without it.

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