February 15, 2012

Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis Final Power Down

NASA announced today that Discovery and Atlantis were powered down for the final time in preparation for their eventual display in Washington and Cape Canaveral respectively.  Both of the orbiters went through a power-on procedure to retract their Ku-band antennas and robotic arm. 

The end of the Space Shuttle era is bittersweet - the Shuttle allowed space travel to become relatively common place by opening up space travel to more than just military test pilots.  The Shuttle pioneered new technologies such as the MMU, and long-duration power supplies for the Space Station and eventual flights to the Moon and Mars.  The Shuttle was also a victim of its own success, suffering 14 casualties during its tenure as America's Manned Space Program.  Regardless, the Shuttle was still an engineering marvel, and she performed her mission well. 

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