An Era Ends


Contributed by David

The United States space shuttle Atlantis touched down at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5.56 am after a 13-day mission to the International Space Station. It carried four astronauts: commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.

"Having fired the imagination of a generation, a ship like no other, its place in history secured, the space shuttle pulls into port for the last time, its voyage at an end,"

So announced
mission controller Rob Navias.

In future, the ISS will be kept supplied by Russian Soyuz spaceships as well as - possibly - ships from commercial companies such as SpaceX, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Since the first
shuttle launch on April 12, 1981, 355 people from 16 countries made a total of 852 journeys aboard. Between them, the five shuttles traveled more than 542 million miles and hosted more than 2,000 experiments.

Manned spaceflight has spun off a host of inventions and technological advances – things like memory foam, cordless tools, freeze-dried foods, scratch-resistant eyeglasses, joysticks, high performance insulation and firefighting equipment, sophisticated artificial limbs and medical implants.

Skylab gave us smoke detectors. The Apollo missions gave us the Dustbuster along with practical cardiac monitors and telemetry now common in many hospitals. But private companies don’t sink billions into enterprises whose chief payoffs are accidental and unexpected. Nor do they fund such unquantifiables as national pride and exploration for exploration’s sake.

The United States current President lacks genuine interest in science in general and has displayed no imagination regarding a space program. President Obama has mentioned on many occasions he has better uses for billions of the dollars an active space program demands.

BHOs imagination is only useful at creating immense social programs. Expensive programs with little chance of truly succeeding.

The ability to create a vessel that will safely take humans from the surface of the Earth, safely into the hostile environment of space and returning them safely from flight at mach 25 is no small achievement.

ESA, (European Space Agency) has had few grand launches of exploration. China’s space program is still in its infancy and can ride on America’s space coat-tails by accessing the immense amount of research and development that NASA has placed in the public domain.

Even so China’s program sound ambitious, but reality, expenses on a huge scale appear to have humble China from trying to much to fast.

America’s manned space program had its tragic bangs – the Challenger and Columbia catastrophes. But it is dying with a pathetic whimper.

Farewell Atlantis!

Read more about Atlantis return:


Anonymous said...

This is what happens to a bankrupt f**kup country.

The days of USA dominating high-tech is long gone.

Future US space exploration will have to depend on Chinese and Russian vehicles.

Haven't you seen all the homeless, foreclosed, evicted used-to-be-home-owners sleeping on sidewalks, public parks, etc. Please go and have a look.

David said...


I am very aware of the plight of many of my neighbours.

I volunteered time at a local warming center last winter.

The warming center gave nearly 100 people morning and evening meals along with a safe and warm place to sleep.

The United States current administration is the most incompetent group of leaders I can remember.


Anonymous said...

Thank you USA.

Thanks for the brave astronauts who fired the imaginations of scientists & researchers everywhere.

Thanks for advancing the cause of science & sharing the fruits of your inventions.

Thanks for managing a fractious human species from starting anymore world wars. Though there were some aberrations - assassination of Chile President Andre ( did I get it right ? ), your Report Card had mostly Bs, As & very few D minus.

Thanks for promoting Nashville music, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, all the pin-up chicks that gave us hard-ons :) when our clueless local chicks didn't 'get it'.

Thanks for promoting freedom & your brave lads fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan & hauling Osama's ass to bottom of the sea.

And thank you USA, for providing underdog sympathies to a little red dot in SE Asia; ( and Pheonix missiles ) allowing us to sleep peacefully while the neighbor consult psychiatrists to deal with an inferiority complex.

And I know I speak for many Singaporeans - ( you see, Chinese are inscrutable - you can't figure out what we're thinking ) who may be unaware of the sacrifices of US soldiers who died for our liberty ( on the beaches of Pacific islands & Normandy ) fighting against the tyrany of mad men.

The human species is much improved - for the bravery you showed we are all capable of - and this is one person who wish to express his gratitude.

And be assured the clueless idoilts or internet vandals who write about USA being a "f....kup"
country; really, he is just an aberration and most likely behaving like a Malaysian ( ha ! ha ! ha ! ).

And if you need a friend, count on us.


Leo - a Singaporean who loves laksa, LKY politics, USA, good looking women and many things in life except Malaysians ( that hurt ? Yeah !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! x 2 ).

Yu-Kym said...

I would imagine human beings would be going on a real "cruise to nowhere" in space in time to come!

Leo, please don't post anti-Malaysia/Malaysian comments. Thanks.