Atlantis Retires – End of an Important Age

It was a somber event in the wee hours of the morning today when the shuttle Atlantis made its final landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  For those of us of a certain age, we remember the early days of the space race and exploration in the United States.  It was new, exciting, and people were completely focused on television and radio for the latest news.

I vividly remember the teachers at Ames Country Day School corralling us preschoolers to sit on the floor in front of a black and white television on a rolling cart to watch the moon walk in 1969 (I do believe it was Apollo 11 in 1969, but cannot yet verify.).  They didn’t want us to miss an important part of history and I appreciate it.

I have mixed feelings about the end of the the space program as we know it, but I am hopeful and optimistic that curiosity and exploration will continue.  I was moved by the comments of the Atlantis crew and operations staff at the final landing this morning.

Space exploration in the U.S. has not had as much media attention in the past couple of decades, but the committed staff at NASA hasn’t been loafing around, waiting for the cameras.  I admire and respect all the work being done by those individuals in space research and development.  Keep it up!

Landing video and comments —
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=102483531

Comments by Flight Director Tony Ceccacci —
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=102534251

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