‘Space Shuttle’ Ends after 30 years of service


         STS 1 Crew (1980)                                          STS 133 (2011) Crew 

Good to welcome you all back to my historical website. Firstly I would like to thank all past, present and future visitors for your keen interest and hopefully patience in reading some of my articles. It will always in my opinion be a touch of historical sadness when any successful technology ceases not to be replaced and streamlined through with even more challenging technology as we see the Space Shuttle certainly earnt its’ reputation for!  As STS 133 prepares its launch at end of January 2011 for the International Space Station(ISS) visit, it looks like America’s Shuttle will lose its status of the world’s most successful and practical deep space aircraft. For it has been decided by the top brass in view of the work still continuing on board the ISS there will be neccessary flights of a further two last shuttles scheduled as STS 134, and STS 135 (Atlantis) being the very last Shuttle numbered flight. mission. On a pre planned day on July 8th 2011 will no doubt be seen as a very special and significant date time in space history. We see this cessation of technology occassionally happening in aviation, with the most famous embarressment ‘ The Concorde’ being scrapped without a worthy replacement. Or to put it another way a failure to upgrade on what was a dateless, technically genious aviational masterpiece.The Concorde an Anglo British success began its early designs way back in the 60’s when Great Britain was coming out from its swinging 60’s Beatles pop arena into an era of more darker heavy rock music leading the way. Thus the Concorde itself was an innovator proving most definately that people would pay a good price for maybe not the most comfortable ride in the world, but ceratainly the fastest. I compare it to the Space Shuttle as they seemed to have similar goals, of excellence in engineering, severe testing before trusting regular flights and the ability to get you somewhere either inside , or outside the Earths atmosphere quickly whilst bringing you back home safe!

Space Shuttle did exactly what it set out to do. It shuttles highly trained experienced pilots , navigators and non flying technical personnel into space and back. Rewinding back to the late  60’s and early 70’s NASA were using the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs to justify a more competitive priced semi commercial project that involved more low profile individuals, ie highly trained mission specialists. Early space astronauts rightly earned their celebrity status, for their incredible bravado, excellent previous military record , and their ability to work and respect those who made it happen on the ground. It was this relationship (with the exception of two  tragic Shuttle disasters) that gave in my opinion the Space shuttle an extremely long record of achievement. From 1980 after the 1st test flight with  of STS 1 with Apollo Astronauts John Young, and new Rookie Bob Crippen we see experience giving new blood great encouragement. Only but a very few number of Apollo and Pre Apollo Astronauts were chosen, or applied for the Shuttle crew jobs. Harrison Schmitt the first non military aviator, and first ever mission specialist was chosen to go up on the last Apollo mission (17) for a purpose. He may of been possibly unpopular with the ‘in crowd of NASA Astronauts’ at the time when chosen (around 1970) but NASA in my opinion were thinking much much further into the future by connecting and enabling everyday people to get involved in Space Travel.

As I have said before in my blogs, Space travel was never just to prove man can reach the Moon, and come safely back again, but to provide thousands of non astronauts the opportunity to pull together and build something actually very special, uniquely memorable, and marketed to captivate a world wide audience! If Microsofts Bill Gates or Richard Branson for example  were invited back in the 60’s to back up the ‘Mission Moon project’ financially, I would guess they probably would have. If you review but just a few of my mini biographies on both Space Shuttle and pre Space Shuttle Astronauts on this website you can enjoy to imagine the long hard road all them took to achieve their status. Highly driven, skilled craftsman, excellent in discipline with keen ears to listen and work well in a team are all ingredients for a successful project. No successful space craft has ever left the ground without the origins of inventors’ , innovators, politicians, technicians, engineers a variety of ground crew, and of course trained pilots, navigators and Commanders that overseer their precious crews. Whether there be a political Government world-wide who is prepared to continue with that ethic, let alone finance it remains to be seen…Gary Royston Cole

One Response to “‘Space Shuttle’ Ends after 30 years of service”

  1. Rodigo Says:

    I have been working in Houston on the Shuttle since 2/1986. I’m sad to see the Shuttle reirnitg this year.What is your opinion about reirnitg the Shuttle now? Do you think it should be used to shuttle Astronauts until a new vehicle is ready?

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