Friday, August 20, 2010

Video Del Fuego, Part XXXIII

It's hard to believe, really, that there are only two flights left for the Space Shuttle program. It's been a long, long road. The program was approved by President Nixon in 1972, and the final design was chosen in 1973. The first test vehicle, Enterprise, was rolled out on September 17, 1976. Its first glide test took place on August 12, 1977. Five Orbiters have flown in space: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. Only three are left. Challenger was lost on the way up, and Columbia on the way down.

Atlantis has already flown its last scheduled flight, it's standing ready as the rescue ship should anything go wrong with the last two flights. Discovery is scheduled to take its last flight on November 1st, with Endeavour closing out the program on February 26, 2011.

For all its problems, it's been a marvelous vehicle. More humans have ridden into space on Space Shuttles than any other vehicle in history. That's a record that won't stand forever. But it may well stand for a couple of decades.

Without further comment, here's Endeavour making a night re-entry and landing at KSC Runway 33.

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