Exactly one year ago today Atlantis touched down at the Kennedy Space Centre in Central Florida for the very last time after flying 135 missions. Since then the whole programme has been decommissioned. Many (not me) would probably argue that it was long overdue given that it cost the US government over £73BN and caused the loss of 14 lives. Having said that it also delivered quite a lot back. The International Space Station and the launch of the amazing Hubble telescope to name but two.
However what caught my imagination was the fact that the programme had been running for over 30 years. The first one was launched on April 12, 1981. I found that quite incredible. Not the three decades but the fact that man successfully launched a reusable space craft a mere 68 years after the Wright brothers inaugural flight. Not a bad advertisement for our ingenuity. One day we can barely fly 120 feet at a steady 6.8 miles per hour. Seven decades later we are blasting into orbit with reusable space craft. And next year Richard Branson will launch his inaugural space tourism flights. NASA meanwhile are focused on putting a man on Mars. And hopefully DARPA will sort out the Falcon HTV-2 problems.
All hail The Human Race.