It was a mere one year ago that NASA’s Atlantis orbiter landed and docked to see the end of the inspirational Space Shuttle Program. After 30 years transiting from Earth to the International Space Station (ISS) the last three shuttles with space flight time have finally all taken refuge on terra firma. Gaze upon these magnificent machines as they once gazed upon you in orbit above our planet. The shuttles will be housed from coast to coast across America surely to inspire the span of the nation. So where will these craft end up?
Space Shuttle Discovery, the first of the three to hang up its boosters, will be on show at the National Air and Space Museum annex at Washington Dulles International Airport, Virginia. There it will be housed with some of the most famous and innovative aeronautic machines ever created and conceived by human kind. Discovery was the first to fly after the disaster of the Challenger shuttle in 1986. Now the ship can rest safely in the appreciation and awe of those that choose to visit.
Endeavour has taken shelter on the other side of the USA at the California Science Center in Los Angeles ever since its last mission in May 2011. Separate to its siblings, Endeavour will enlighten thousands of visitors on the West Coast as they flock to catch a glimpse of history. It will sit proudly as the museums centre piece and crowd pleaser.
When Atlantis landed after the final STS mission on the 21st July 2011 many were surprised to have even seen it leave the Earth. Unfortunately this ship was scheduled to be scrapped and used for parts for the remaining craft on the program. Luckily and somewhat under economic strain, NASA decided to extend its tenure and Atlantis ended up delivering some very important loads to the ISS.
Atlantis will remain were her journey began at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, under the observation of those that constructed and flew within all these grand and glorious machines.
- Decommissioning the Space Shuttles (theatlantic.com)
- Space Shuttle Enterprise Makes Public Debut in NYC (transportationnation.org)
- Space workers struggle a year after last shuttle (sacbee.com)
- Watch All the Space Shuttle Launches at Once [Video] (gizmodo.com)