Last Flight of Atlantis

After almost 25 years in service, at 7.20pm [BST] tonight Nasa’s Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to lift-off from Kennedy Space Center on its last ever flight – Mission STS-132.  There’s Nasa’s launch blog and the usual online NasaTV coverage.

Only two more missions remain in the Space Shuttle programme.

Meanwhile Congress continues to hear from opponents of US President Obama’s new policy for Nasa, including, in a rare public appearance, moonwalker Neil Armstrong.

Adds Via NASAtelevision

And perhaps I should have said First Last Flight…  As the BBC’s Spaceman notes

As I’ve already discussed in this blog, there is some talk in the US as to whether having gone to the trouble of prepping Atlantis in this way, Nasa should just fly it out anyway.

The extra spares and supplies would be gratefully received at the station and were the ship to sustain damage itself – a holed wing on lift-off, for example – the small crew (just four individuals) could return to Earth in Soyuz capsules.

That’s a decision for later in the year. President Obama still has to convince Congress that his new strategy for space exploration is the correct one and that the shuttle fleet should be stood down as planned.

Some politicians persist in trying to get orbiter operations extended, so nothing can yet be said to be a done deal.

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  • augustiner hell

    A Little bit of history you should enjoy, apologies for the CAPITALS!

    ON JULY 20, 1969, AS COMMANDER OF THE APOLLO 11 LUNAR MODULE, NEIL ARMSTRONG WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO SET FOOT ON THE MOON. HIS FIRST WORDS AFTER STEPPING ON THE MOON, ‘THAT’S ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND,’ WERE TELEVISED TO EARTH AND HEARD BY MILLIONS.

    BUT JUST BEFORE HE REENTERED THE LANDER, HE MADE THE ENIGMATIC REMARK ‘GOOD LUCK, MR GORSKY.’ MANY PEOPLE AT NASA THOUGHT IT WAS A CASUAL REMARK CONCERNING SOME RIVAL SOVIET COSMONAUT. HOWEVER, UPON CHECKING, THERE WAS NO GORSKY IN EITHER THE RUSSIAN OR AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAMS.

    OVER THE YEARS MANY P EOPLE QUESTIONED ARMSTRONG AS TO WHAT THE ‘GOOD LUCK, MR. GORSKY’.. STATEMENT MEANT, BUT ARMSTRONG ALWAYS JUST SMILED.

    ON JULY 5, 1995, IN TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA , WHILE ANSWERING QUESTIONS FOLLOWING A SPEECH, A REPORTER BROUGHT UP THE 26-YEAR-OLD QUESTION TO ARMSTRONG. THIS TIME HE FINALLY RESPONDED. MR. GORSKY HAD DIED, SO NEIL ARMSTRONG FELT HE COULD ANSWER THE QUESTION.

    IN 1938 WHEN HE WAS A KID IN A SMALL MIDWEST TOWN , HE WAS PLAYING BASEBALL WITH A FRIEND IN THE BACKYARD. HIS FRIEND HIT THE BALL, WHICH LANDED IN HIS NEIGHBOR’S YARD BY THE BEDROOM WINDOWS. HIS NEIGHBORS WERE MR. AND MRS. GORSKY. AS HE LEANED DOWN TO PICK UP THE BALL, YOUNG ARMSTRONG HEARD MRS. GORSKY SHOUTING AT MR. GORSKY. ‘SEX! YOU WANT SEX?! YOU’LL GET SEX WHEN THE KID NEXT DOOR WALKS ON THE MOON!’

    TRUE STORY

  • Mark McGregor

    Pete,

    Are you able to do that thing that makes me look dead cool with my son and give a link to when we can see it passing overhead?

  • Pete Baker

    That’s NOT a “true story”.

  • Pete Baker

    Mark

    They haven’t updated yet, and the server’s a bit slow at the moment, but Heavens-Above is the place to check.

    [It should be set for Belfast skies in the link]

  • Pete Baker

    The launch video’s now included in the updated original post.

  • joeCanuck

    Really sad how NASA seems to have lost their way, aided and abetted by various politicos.

  • joeCanuck

    BTW, Armstrong maintains that he said “for a man” and not “for man”. That makes more sense and it’s what I thought he said when I watched it. I’ve heard it played many times since and I still think it was “for a man”. He just ran the words together as many of us do. Context is everything.

  • augustiner hell

    You’re quite right, but SLIGHTLY amusing to some. I overlooked the “true story” in my hasty cut and paste.

  • Pete Baker

    No visible passes by STS-132 in the next 10 days predicted by Heavens-Above.