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The Space Shuttle Discovery's Last Mile (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the gone-to-her-final-resting-place dept.

Space 101

Timothy Lord was in the closest civilian parking lot to where the Space Shuttle Discovery touched down from her last flight -- as a passenger on top of a 747, but it was still a space shuttle flying... a flight that was the sad epitaph for an American era. Timothy's shots of the landing approach are much like all the others you've seen. What's interesting is the variety of people he talked with. One came all the way from Tokyo. And there was the young man who got a Master's in Aeronautical Engineering to work on the space program, which sadly shut down, and who is now looking for a job with SpaceX or one of the other private space-bound companies. We hope there are lots of opportunities in the near future for him, and for thousands if not millions of others who want to go into space or, ground-bound, help our efforts to go where only science fiction writers' imaginations have gone before.

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LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721487)

DONGS!

I can't wait! (4, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721519)

After landing at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia, the shuttle will undergo final preparations to go on display Thursday at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum annex near the airport.

Which means we'll see yet another last-mile-discovery-travels-story.

“We pledge to take care of her forever,” said retired Gen. John R. “Jack” Dailey, the museum’s director. The shuttle will show young visitors “what America is capable of.”

Not anymore!

Re:I can't wait! (2, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721555)

While I think nationalism can be a powerful motivating force, the time has come for everyone to shoulder the mantle of new space exploration on an international basis, like the Star Tram guys are trying to do. Open source, not for profit megaengineering. Can it be done? Sure! Its just really hard.

Re:I can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39723365)

"the time has come for everyone to shoulder the mantle of new space exploration on an international basis"

No.

Re:I can't wait! (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722063)

"What America WAS capable of." Keyword there is was.

Re:I can't wait! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724711)

If we can put a man on the Moon, how come we can't maintain a manned space program ?

...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (2)

Mr. Droopy Drawers (215436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721523)

Come On! Stop with the dramatics. The space shuttle wasn't flying; a 747 was. Been there, seen that.

The real issue is that the commericalism of space has commenced and the US has no alternative except the Russians for manned spaceflight. SpaceX will require the help of the ISS's robot arm to properly dock with the station. Virgin Galactic won't be viable for LEO any time soon.

Way to give away our lead in space.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721565)

Technically the wings of the space shuttle are anyway generating lift and drag, helping lifting some of it's weight, so they were both flying in tandem by any definition.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721573)

Our space program died after Apollo 17, this is just the point where it became obvious.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722929)

I see you're conveniently ignoring the unmanned space program, which really started getting on a roll. Even today, there are nearly a dozen active probes around the solar system.

Skylab and the ISS are advancements as well. There wasn't much of a sustained US manned space presence until the ISS.

The SLS may be pretty good too. Farming out low earth orbit services is something that probably should have been done sooner, but maybe it took until now before entrepreneurs had the means to really lower the cost of space access.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (4, Insightful)

lambent (234167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722003)

Way to give away our lead in space.

just like we gave away our lead in nuclear engineering. oh, and physics, too.

and education.
and manufacturing.
and medicine.

is there anything we're the best at anymore, other than incarcerating our own people?

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722289)

How about whining? You seem to be raising the average.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722389)

No, Europeans are far better at whining, too.

We do hold the edge in unwarranted contempt, though. So thanks for your contribution.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (0)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722629)

We're still the tops at bombing the shit out of smaller countries with only moderately effective defenses.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDw-zFFhFgc

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39724741)

So does that count towards our physics or engineering score?

More seriously... it's not as though the US has dropped out of physics because the LHC isn't here. Nor have we just lost everything we know about nuclear power* because China is working on Thorium MSR's. Our public education rates very well (contrary to common fud). Our universities are still the higher ed gold standard, worldwide. And while places like China are getting all our low-end manufacturing, they are woefully unable to create... a problem they're really struggling with. Meanwhile, we're still the world's largest manufacturer.

We still lead the way in space exploration. We've finally, finally done what we should've done a long time ago... let private firms handle the mundane stuff for pennies on the dollar while NASA does the hard science. That's a good (if transitionally painful) thing. I'm the first to argue that their budget should be some multiple of what it is, though.

So while we can always do better and there's nothing wrong with keeping a critical eye on our future... there's no reason to lose all hope just yet. For our shortcomings (of which there will always be some), this is still the greatest nation on Earth.

Well, for now anyways... I wouldn't want Slashdot to lose its title as the "Rome is burning", doom-and-gloom champion of the intarwebs. ;)

* ...a valid concern for the future though.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (1)

BadBlood (134525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723131)

Entertainment and recreation.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39724393)

is there anything we're the best at anymore

you seem to have killing Ayrabs down to a fine art.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (1)

jacknifetoaswan (2618987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39726181)

Don't piss us off, or we'll come after your country next! :)

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39726749)

you seem to have killing Ayrabs down to a fine art.

Not really. There are still too many of them left.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (1)

kuldan (986242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723783)

Well, sorry to correct you, but SpaceX does not "require" the robot arm to berth with the station (this Mode of Operation is called Berthing, not Docking), but rather NASA requires SpaceX to not DOCK but berth with the Station to minimize the chance of a vehicle on fully auto without a crew going haywire and damaging the Station - the Dragon would/will be fully capable of Docking, NASA just doesn't want them to.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724015)

SpaceX will require the help of the ISS's robot arm to properly dock with the station.

That's not due to any sort of a deeply entrenched technical limitation. They simply chose to start with a simpler task first. Once they get the supplies flowing smoothly, they'll work on docking. No need to pile all that engineering up at the beginning of the project.

Re:...but it was still a space shuttle flying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39728101)

And, sadly, to the dismay of many, it didn't fall off and plunge into the white house.

Sadness (2, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721539)

Extremists may shout "death to america," but they should realize as I do that with this and a million other things we are witnessing the death OF America. Sad

Yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721545)

This shit was known years ago. Crying over it now is a waste of time and energy.

Acting like you're the victim and not the author of your own fate is fucking pathetic.

"Boohoo. I studied all this rocket science and now there's no jobs open for me."

Go fuck yourself, Werner. There are hundreds of thousands of people who are perfectly qualified for jobs that they can't get. Welcome to reality.

Go make your own job or keep begging for one. Either way, shut the fuck up about it.

The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceberg (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721571)

I know the space shuttle was flawed, expensive, probably too dangerous, etc etc. But the lesson here is that it will be replaced by... not much.

The shuttle is the most visible sign of humanity in regression: mankind is slowing down - literally, it is more or less abandoning manned space exploration, science is giving way to obscurantism, governments are slowly tightening their grip on their populations, ...

I remember when I was a kid in the 70s, I used to think I might go into space myself, with any luck, before I'm old. I used to think people would be more and more educated, and we were seeing the last vestiges of religiosity clinging on. Technology and education would be victorious, and mankind was on its way to the stars. Bright days ahead I thought...

The exact opposite is happening today. I think it's the sign of the cost of energy: mankind is regressing as cheap energy is disappearing. The shuttle is just one of the things mankind is giving up on.

Hey, if you want to be a pessimist, okay, but... (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721731)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System [wikipedia.org]

http://www.youtube.com/user/UnitedLaunchAlliance [youtube.com]

This is the future:

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/04/smaller-quicker-secret-space/all/1 [wired.com]

And by the way — if you believe the principles and ideals the US and the West stand for have any value whatsoever, then those principles are still worth defending against those who don't share them, and would desire to project their own [nytimes.com] ...

We are not perfect, but before there is a chorus of responses decrying how the US is somehow "oppressing" its people, I genuinely hope those who believe that never see actual oppression...

Re:Hey, if you want to be a pessimist, okay, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722469)

We are not perfect, but before there is a chorus of responses decrying how the US is somehow "oppressing" its people, I genuinely hope those who believe that never see actual oppression...

I do not understand this stance. Waiting to decry oppression until the oppression is among the worst available does not seem like an optimal solution to me. Would you allow just a little bit of poisoning in your food? I mean, other people are dying from it while it will merely make you sick, so that's surely not something to complain about, right? Vigilance is necessary to defend freedom. It doesn't take vigilance to see that Somalia isn't free; complaining about seemingly small abrogations of our rights is exactly what is required to keep them. Real-world examples abound. How do you reconcile this with your condescending relativism?

Re:Hey, if you want to be a pessimist, okay, but.. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723873)

No. The problem is that when a bunch of lazy whiners cry loudly that their inability to get free stuff taken from someone else is actually a form of oppression, that they contribute to the muddled discourse and decline in critical thinking that got us here in the first place. People who feel entitled to everything pretend feel oppressed when they're told they actually have to work for some of it, instead. Actual hints of oppression are eclipsed by the noise these leeches make while banging drums in protest against the lack of free stuff.

It doesn't take vigilance to see that Somalia isn't free

Right, which is why it's really important to use words like "oppression" to identify actually oppressive situations, not circumstances in which people tweeting about their ennui on their smartphones call themselves oppressed when they have to actually pay the bills they agreed to pay when they decided to spend four years in an expensive liberal arts college getting a degree in something for which there is no market.

Re:Hey, if you want to be a pessimist, okay, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39724693)

When the fuck did Slashdot become so disgustingly ignorant? Take your bootstraps and self serving propagandist bullshit elsewhere.

Re:Hey, if you want to be a pessimist, okay, but.. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39726221)

Great example! Many people won't understand your use of theatrics to help me make a point, but some will, so thanks. The implication (that by looking first to their own interests, rather than forcing someone else to given them stuff, people are actually oppressing the people to whom they're not gladly being forced to give free stuff) is perfectly toned. You couldn't have simulated the entitlement-minded, Nanny-state-loving, born-being-owed-someone-else's-labors mentality any better. Your use of deliberately insulting, angry words is pitch-perfect as you paint your portrait of such people, who inevitably resent the very people they insist on having as their forced patrons. Well done, sir.

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (4, Informative)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722071)

mankind is slowing down - literally, it is more or less abandoning manned space exploration, science is giving way to obscurantism, governments are slowly tightening their grip on their populations, ...

You seem to be confusing the USA with "mankind". Europe and Russia's space programs are still strong, China, India and Brazil are recent newcomers expanding their space programs, science is still strong in the civilized world and people in Europe are no less free than they were before 9/11.

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724379)

You seem to be confusing the "USA" with something else. The US space program isn't suddenly "weak" because we don't have an active manned spaceflight capability. Have you kept track of recent US space exploration and satellite programs, none of which require a human to be aboard? We — the "USA" and the free world at large — are adding to the body of knowledge faster than at any time in human history. The achievements of the USA, Europe, and to an extent the former USSR, are what much of the rest of the world has relied upon for scientific advancement in recent history.

"9/11" has zero to do with this argument. People like to talk about how freedoms have been lost, but aside from isolated anecdotes or complaints about airport security, no one is typically able to identify a freedom that they have ACTUALLY LOST. That is, something they could do before, but can't now. Freedom is not black or white, and the US — and Europe — has never had absolute freedom. Meanwhile, there are plenty of nations, including China, which demonstrate a significant and severe curtailing of citizens' freedoms, to say nothing about Syria, Iran, the Taliban, etc.

In the US, Europe, and the rest of the free world we learn more about the world and the workings of our government, faster, and in more detail, than at any previous point in history. A large part of this is due to the internet and the commitment that the US, Europe, and our allies demonstrate to internet freedom — but would the internet as we know it today have existed without the US, and its academic, military, and space programs? This is not to denigrate Europe in the least, but the answer is almost certainly: not likely.

So bash the US all you want...but if you believe Europe will continue along happily without a significant counterbalance to ideals that run counter to freedom and democracy I doubt you would like the way the world would look. China and Russia are not standing still in their hopes to displace the US at every turn — both are waiting in the wings to expand their presence in Afghanistan as the US draws down; China is displacing the US in South America; and regimes in the mideast are not going to suddenly become peaceful and free.

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39727305)

Have you kept track of recent US space exploration and satellite programs, none of which require a human to be aboard?

I have, have you? The number of launches in the USA has steadily declined from mid-30s in the late 90s to 15-20 in the last few years.

People like to talk about how freedoms have been lost, but aside from isolated anecdotes or complaints about airport security,

"Isolated anecdotes or complaints"?? The entire USA population is subject to be groped or looked at in the nude at the airport. These are not isolated anecdotes, this is every day life.

no one is typically able to identify a freedom that they have ACTUALLY LOST.

Either they exist only in your imagination or they are not very bright. All they need to do is point to the Patriot Act for a list.

Among freedoms and rights lost are the freedom to fly without government issued ID, the freedom to take pictures of airports, the freedom not to have your computer communications intercepted without a warrant. You don't have to trust me on this one, as parts of the Patriot Act have already been found unconstitutional by the courts.

"9/11" has zero to do with this argument.

Right, the Patriot Act has zero to do with 9/11.

You are a troll.

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39728311)

I have, have you? The number of launches in the USA has steadily declined from mid-30s in the late 90s to 15-20 in the last few years.

Yes. I have. And the effectiveness and reliability of our space launches, missions, and systems is the best in the world. Not to sound trite, but quantity doesn't equal quality.

"Isolated anecdotes or complaints"?? The entire USA population is subject to be groped or looked at in the nude at the airport. These are not isolated anecdotes, this is every day life.

Yes, "isolated anecdotes or complaints". "Being looked at nude at the airport"? Really? The millimeter wave advanced imaging systems show a generic outline of a person with a box identifying a suspicious area. The backscatter X-ray systems have controls designed to enforce privacy.

And you can opt out of ALL advanced imaging. How do I know? Because I fly routinely, and opt out routinely — and no, I'm not "punished" or "targeted" because of it.

Either they exist only in your imagination or they are not very bright. All they need to do is point to the Patriot Act for a list.

Okay, please show me the "list". And yes, this is a rhetorical question. Most of the "Patriot Act" was simply updates to woefully outdated legislation. It is a very large act that impacted a large body of law, and very few of its provisions caused a large amount of controversy — and that's what happens in our legislative and judicial systems: panic and a rush when "something happens", give and take, controversy, and compromise until equilibrium is reached.

Among freedoms and rights lost are the freedom to fly without government issued ID

I flew without ID as a selectee numerous times until the TSA implemented a measure that disallows persons from refusing to show ID associated with a boarding pass simply because they feel like it. The TSA officer at the podium couldn't care less who you are. All they're looking at is to see that your ID matches a boarding pass. Yes, it's been demonstrated how this can be easily circumvented, but it's just one layer of security, and one of the ways that can help a No-Fly list be effective. Can it be defeated, and can you book a flight with a name not on the No-Fly list and use a fake ID? Or book a flight with a name belonging to a "real" ID with the wrong picture, and then create a fake boarding pass? Absolutely. Security experts have demonstrated this, and no doubt TSA's own red team activities has repeatedly documented such vulnerabilities. Is the concept of a No-Fly list, or ID/boarding pass matching perfect? Nope. But nothing is. And I'm perfectly open to arguments about effectiveness of the TSA in general. But is matching an ID to a boarding pass when the agent to whom you show it literally doesn't care who you are "taking away your rights"?

the freedom to take pictures of airports

False. [tsa.gov]

TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or slowed down.

False. [slashdot.org]

The content of the communications of US Persons is OFF LIMITS without a warrant. Interpreting the METADATA of communications has always been allowable without a warrant, which is REQUIRED to identify and discern the communications of non-US Persons, some of which travels via equipment and networks within the US, and does NOT require a warrant (and never has).

You don't have to trust me on this one, as parts of the Patriot Act have already been found unconstitutional by the courts.

The fact that a part(s) of ANY duly-passed legislation can be later found to be unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction is exactly how our system of law works.

Right, the Patriot Act has zero to do with 9/11.

While some provisions of the Patriot Act have been controversial, it is not the unmitigated evil you paint it to be. Things like THIS are the problem. [slashdot.org]

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (1)

BigZee (769371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723057)

Although I don't disagree with the point, I do think that a better example of our regression is that we have stopped living in the supersonic era. Deliberately ignoring the Russian input into this, Concorde really was the first and last supersonic airliner. Although I accept that there were several factors in it's downfall, it cannot be ignored that there are no major aircraft companies with an interest in producing a replacement. Surely it must be easier to produce an efficient supersonic aircraft than it was 40 odd years ago. So much of today's businesses are focused only on the bottom line. In fact, ironically, space is the exception. I can't honestly believe that the likes of SpaceX, Virgin etc feel sure of success. Are they not showing the kind of imagination that seems to have been lost by organizations such as NASA?

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724057)

There is no need for a replacement. Nobody wanted to pay that much money to fly on that thing. That's the economic reality. Just because you can do something does not mean people will pay for it.

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724373)

Although I accept that there were several factors in it's downfall, it cannot be ignored that there are no major aircraft companies with an interest in producing a replacement. Surely it must be easier to produce an efficient supersonic aircraft than it was 40 odd years ago.

The main factor was that it cost a colossal amount of money to make a journey only about twice as fast. Twice as fast is amazing, but when you're talking "most of the day on a plane" versus "half a day on a plane", there's not a huge fundamental advantage for most average Joe's. Millionaires and rich businessmen loved it, but there just aren't enough of those to make a business case for it.

Until someone can come up with supersonic aircraft for less money, there's no point trying it again. And you can bet your rear end that the likes of Boeing and Airbus (who are constantly competing to make bigger, fast, more luxurious planes than each other) will do it as soon as they figure out how.

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723255)

Two points:
1) At the risk of starting a flame war, the world's manned (crewed..., whatever) space program began its slow down when the last crewed Apollo-Saturn V launched in 1972. Neither the US nor any other country has produced a crewed vehicle which could reach earth escape velocity since then. The shuttle turned out to be a very expensive and long delaying regression to earth orbit only. Perhaps we can get back to going forward and outward now.
2) You are correct that the maximum speed that a few select humans can go has been higher in the past -- retirement of SR-71 and Concorde apply here, too, but with the general expansion of air and automobile travel worldwide the "average" (whatever that is) person has access to more mobility and speed of mobility than ever.

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39726649)

The shuttle is the most visible sign of humanity in regression: mankind is slowing down - literally, it is more or less abandoning manned space exploration, science is giving way to obscurantism, governments are slowly tightening their grip on their populations, ...

I remember when I was a kid in the 70s, I used to think I might go into space myself, with any luck, before I'm old. I used to think people would be more and more educated, and we were seeing the last vestiges of religiosity clinging on. Technology and education would be victorious, and mankind was on its way to the stars. Bright days ahead I thought...

The exact opposite is happening today. I think it's the sign of the cost of energy: mankind is regressing as cheap energy is disappearing. The shuttle is just one of the things mankind is giving up on.

You are being overly dramatic and entirely wrong.

While in your glory days of yore mankind shot up a few monkeys (and the occasional chimp or dog) in a tin can once in a while, we now have a complement of 6 scientists (by any 70s standard) living in space all year round.

While in the 80s I could spend a trimester in high school trying to get a computer to draw a mandelbrot apple in 4 colours in the space of 1 hour, and get an A for it, kids these days load up a fractal program and explore whichever set they want in detail with limitless real-time zooming capabilities.

While I could write a school paper about any old subjects based on what I could find out about it from the 2 books and 3 encyclopedias in the school library back in the 70s, these days you type something in google and find more literature about it than you can read in a lifetime.

Mankind is not regressing, your body is. It's called getting old. The danger is to let your mind regress with it by making up entirely false doom scenarios like this. Kids these days still dream of going into space. And when they are 30 or 40 years older, like you they will wake up one day and find out that they will never get there in their lifetime.

Re:The space shuttle is just the tip of the iceber (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39729111)

I remember when I was a kid in the 70s, I used to think I might go into space myself

Elon Musk is going to retire on Mars. He'll sell you a ticket too.

By all indications he's going to do it. His cargo ship docks with the ISS in a couple weeks.

I seem to recall a recent story that he'll be selling lunar orbits for $500K in the coming decade. That might be too much for a refrigerator salesman, but for over two million Americans that's just one year's income. If just one half of one percent of those people take him up on it, that's ten thousand new astronauts, and a new launch to the moon every day for five years (assuming 5 passengers, two crew).

By contrast, government spaceflight programs get in a big huff when one rich businessman buys a seat on a trip to the ISS from the Russians.

In short, we've never been closer to realizing your dream.

Space Dreams (2)

psyclone241 (733888) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721601)

It is sad to see the era end. I've been enamored by the space shuttle from the day I first built a model of the shuttle Columbia. I had that model on my desk for years, and it went to school multiple times for show-and-tell. The shuttle program changed many lives, and will continue to do so. The same dreamer that first envisioned a reusable space plane, will be the same ones who re-invent the process and space flight will still be a dream of youngsters in school. I remember both the Challenger & Columbia disasters, and despite the tragedy, the program continued. This end of an era is the beginning of a new one. I never made it to space, but one day my kids might, who knows. I know for myself, a visit to one of these shuttles is in the nearest future possible!

Re:Space Dreams (1)

psyclone241 (733888) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721861)

Hadn't seen this picture when I posted earlier. Space Shuttle Discovery Buzzes D.C. Monuments [nationalgeographic.com] . Would have loved to been those guys working on that scaffolding!!

A Museum Piece now... (3, Interesting)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721657)

Its a tad sad to see Discovery gutted and turned into a (oversized) museum piece. The Space Shuttles were an inspiring symbol of successful manned spaceflight when I was growing up. Lots of little boys around me wanted to be "Astronauts" or "Pilots" when they grew up, and wanted to visit Cape Canaveral some day, because the Space Shuttle launces were a beautiful and exciting spectacle. RIP Discovery. Symbol of science beating the odds. At least museum visitors will get to take up-close pictures of her now.

Re:A Museum Piece now... (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722313)

Seems pretty sad to me as well. I was fairly confused why space enthusiasts were cheering the entombment of the shuttle.

Not so gutted Re:A Museum Piece now... (1)

funky49 (182835) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723105)

Actually, Discovery serves as the "Vehicle of Record" among the retired shuttles. Atlantic & Endevour have donated a lot more parts to the SLS program.

“If using components off of the orbiters can help that happen, then we’re all for that, so I think we came to a good compromise in the sense of pretty much leaving Discovery as the vehicle of record. We didn’t take as much out of Discovery, but then we are taking out of Endeavour and Atlantis those components so that we can help SLS, so I think it was a good compromise between the programs.”

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/03/vehicle-record-sls-discovery-mps/ [nasaspaceflight.com]

End of an era, even for non-usasians. (5, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721667)

It really is hard to believe it's all over. I grew up as a schoolboy with the Space Shuttle "coming sometime in the next decade", and then watched the first launch avidly in 1981 - I still remember the exact details of that particular afternoon because it was one of those historic "remembered where you were" moments. I also queued for hours on the M11 to get to see the Shuttle on her UK visit (on the 747 carrier) to Stansted in 1983. Another historic moment was the '86 disaster but that seems strangely more remote in time than the first launch, somehow. I don't know where all those years went, but they did - I'm going to turn 50 this year. From a Brit, it's sad to see this era of early space travel come to an end with nothing much on its way to replace it. Truly historic.

Re:End of an era, even for non-usasians. (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723375)

But the Shuttle was just a space-Winnebago for taking little trips into upper orbit in a metal can. It's sort of lame to think of it as 'space' travel, mostly because the earth equivalent is someone with a Winnebago that circles around, never leaving, a huge WalMart parking lot.

Everybody got owned by the hypemeisters. The money spent on NASA was just a way of funding warhead delivery technology while seeming to be scientists. Essentially a scaled up version of the North Korean 'satellite launch' deal they tried to do last week.

Re:End of an era, even for non-usasians. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39723383)

As an American that post brought a tear to my eye. Well said.

I see a lot of criticism but not many just reflecting on an amazing achievement and being sorry to see it end. Im a bit younger but it is really sad for me, the space shuttle has always existed for me and the promise of "someday you could be an astronaut too" was hugely meaningful to me as a child. It was an achievement for the everyman. What do I tell my son, someday maybe you can simply buy a ticket to see space? Seeing and experiencing are different.

Re:End of an era, even for non-usasians. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39724277)

"Someday you can work on wallstreet and bone the american people out of their retirement and you won't have to worry about seeing a cell for it."

Nah doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Re:End of an era, even for non-usasians. (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724225)

This is the same way I, as an American, feel about Concorde. I always remember the first time I saw it as a boy. Our school was near Dulles airport so it wasn't a special ceremony or anything. I knew Concorde existed. I knew we were near the flight path. One day I heard a loud jet, looked up, and there it was. It was a bright overcast day so it actually looked dark gray against the clouds. Fantastic. I can close my eyes and see it. That was supposed to be the future too.

Maudlin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721677)

This thread has turned into a maudlin circle jerk.

I'm outta here, losers.

myths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721683)

"...to work on the space program, which sadly shut down"

what????? man, why do people keep saying this? The notion that the space program has shut down, or that even human spaceflight has shut down, seems to perpetuate in the same way that Saddam Hussein caused 9/11. Cmon man!!! We've got astronauts on the ISS 24x7 folks and quite a few other programs that NASA is working on!

Re:myths (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721783)

Cmon man!!! We've got astronauts on the ISS 24x7 folks and quite a few other programs that NASA is working on!

We man the ISS 24/7 the same way "Prince" Roy Bates keeps someone on Sealand 24/7: if it was abandoned, it would go derelict in a very short time, and more importantly, it would become no-one's territory. As long as there's someone there, the illusion that it's a "territory" with "inhabitants" is maintained, as well as the illusion that the US still has a space program, which you fell for.

At best, the ISS is in maintenance mode.

Re:myths (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721957)

Completely wrong. Under the Outer Space and Space Liability treaties, "territory" does not and cannot exist in space, since sovereign claims are strictly outlawed in space. This is why Gingrich's "51st state on the moon" idea is legally a non-starter

Indeed, it is also legally impossible for objects in space to be abandoned, and the launching state remains responsible for any damage caused in space or on earth by the object, even when it is abandoned.

The situation would really be no different from that of seasonal research stations in Antarctica, which no one disputes are under the control of the states that created them, even when they are unoccupied.

Also, to say the US has no space program is ridiculous. NASA is still hard at work on various manned and unmanned projects, and the USAF has for decades had a much larger space budget than NASA has.

The shuttle was a white elephant and a money pit, a product of compromises that should never have been made in the first place. Its retirement is long overdue and by no means represents an end to the US space program.

Re:myths (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722597)

Saying that the US has no space program may be premature, but it's not ridiculous. Problem is this: the space shuttle was a very public symbol of the space program, and it was one of the few that NASA had available. By retiring it and not replacing it with something that is less of a "white elephant and a money pit," you leave the impression that progress is not being made; quite the opposite, in fact! Those people whose opinions you are ignoring have a lot of influence over the space budget. NASA may be doing more, but they're doing it with less and this is exactly why.

If the space program doesn't see itself as endangered, then it is in a perilous form of denial.

Re:myths (2)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724103)

It is ridiculous! Tell that into face of anyone working for SpaceX and they'll be very glad to tell you, I'm sure, how that "no space program" is working for them. Pays the bills all right.

Re:myths (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 2 years ago | (#39726461)

SpaceX is a for-profit enterprise and in no way represents the United States of America. That would make them a space program, but the US space program. A business isn't doing things on behalf of anyone other than their shareholders; the US space program would be working on behalf (and at the behest of) all taxpaying Americans. I do not see how you can claim those are equivalent.

Re:myths (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39726955)

Good call. Thanks.

Manned space for the US is "nearly" dead (1)

clay_buster (521703) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722595)

The space station is like some antarctic outpost, only less interesting. I don't expect any new science out of it. It isn't acting as a launching off point to higher orbit or long range exploration. Its an international flag pole. Maybe if we ran a national lottery to send someone new up every month.

THIS Is Slashdot TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721751)

Now that is what Slashdot TV should be. Very well done Mr. Lord.

Re:THIS Is Slashdot TV (2)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721807)

AC = Mr. Lord

Re:THIS Is Slashdot TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721865)

AC = Mr. Lord

Not even close, but I've criticized "Timmy" and the craptastic commercials that were Slashdot TV so much that I felt I owed the guy some praise for, IMHO, getting it right this time.

Honestly, had I known yesterday that the dweeb with the camera was Timmy, I probably would have screamed at him for Industry Expert Alfred Poor Gives HDTV Buying Advice [slashdot.org]

I like watching Space Shuttles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721765)

I used to like watching Space Shuttles like you, until I took an arrow in the Space Program

What happened to the final frontier? (0)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721809)

Wait... no time for that - my smartphone is telling me about an update on facebook that someone's kid's poop is purple!

There's nothing bittersweet about this - its just depressing if the obvious things to blame are at work.

Flying Pork for all to see (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721819)

Manned space flight is pork while robotic missions (i.e. from JPL) do the real science. And Houston just cannot let go of the pork firehose; just look at the hundreds of millions it took to decommision the shuttles. Ugh. Here we are on the verge of great discoveries on Mars, Europa, and Enceladus, but the robotic missions are being scuttled for the NASA next big manned Rocket to Nowhere....

200 meters from my window (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721877)

It flew past my office at about 200 meters on its first pass. I am on an upper floor with beautiful views of DC. I really wish we were allowed cameras because I think I had the best vantage point of anyone.

A coworker slipped out on the roof and got some good pics, If I can get the copies Ill post them here.

The chase plane was literally overhead from our position on the pass.

Re:200 meters from my window (1)

psyclone241 (733888) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721997)

The man, wearing a dark suit and dark glasses, who will shortly knock at your co-worker's door, is a friend. He is only there to help your friend understand how to adjust the cover photo for his/her google+ profile.

Where's your wallet? (0)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721929)

sad epitaph for an American era

For the vast majority of people, it's "sad" only because they weren't even aware of the $1b/launch cost, let alone having it be automatically debited from their bank account.

Re:Where's your wallet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39721985)

The list of worse things the government spends $1b on would be too long to fit in this comment field.

Re:Where's your wallet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722111)

Assuming for a minute that your $1,000,000,000 per launch is correct, and using a rough estimate of 265,000,000 as the average US population over the life of the shuttle program, we're talking $509.44 as the per capita expense for all 135 flights.

Compared to the $250 my wife dropped yesterday at the Udvay-Hazy Air and Space Museum gift shop, I think my half-G was well spent.

Re:Where's your wallet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722363)

Compared to the $250 my wife dropped yesterday at the Udvay-Hazy Air and Space Museum gift shop, I think my half-G was well spent.

Did she buy a bunch of crap made in China? Did you let her? Then you two are part of the problem.
Only traitors knowingly buy Chinese products.

Something to read for sure.... (1, Interesting)

psyclone241 (733888) | more than 2 years ago | (#39721965)

5 Horrifying Facts You Didn't Know About the Space Shuttle [forbes.com] and this one, which is linked in the above story.... For Parts, NASA Boldly Goes . . . on eBay [nytimes.com]

Re:Something to read for sure.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39723531)

Oh look, an article in a financial magazine written by people who don't know what they are talking about. Those "horrifying facts" are a joke.

Not an end, a dawn. (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722035)

The way the article puts things you'd think we were all crawling back into caves now.

In fact the opposite is true. We are casting off an albatross around our necks and are at the dawn of a real golden age of space travel - one that does require whole governments bent to the singular task of getting a ship up a few times year.

No, instead we get multiple companies giving us more frequent space travel, for humans and cargo alike.

We humans land on Mars, it will not be a government that sends them there.

Re:Not an end, a dawn. (2)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722799)

And yet what would a private company ever get out of a Mars mission? What's the return on investment, and ultimately what is such a venture providing, and who is paying for it? I mean, nothing stops Boeing or Lockheed for building unmanned probes that could be used to investigate the solar system (maybe selling the data to scientific institutions?) but they're not doing it, and compared to a manned flight to Mars, the cost is peanuts.

Re:Not an end, a dawn. (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723009)

And yet what would a private company ever get out of a Mars mission? What's the return on investment, and ultimately what is such a venture providing, and who is paying for it?

So what's your point? Since not enough people are willing to put up the money voluntarily to go to Mars everybody should be forced to pay for your pet project via taxation whether they agree with it or not?

Re:Not an end, a dawn. (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723855)

I notice you didn't quote the part of my post where I stated I think the government should force everyone to pay for a space program. Maybe because there wasn't one?

You cannot see? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39728959)

And yet what would a private company ever get out of a Mars mission?

You really cannot see the value of the land the first people there will acquire and keep?

You seem to understand nothing of history, nor the obvious future.

You also seem to think that companies ONLY do things for money, which is at this point a frankly insane view giving the crap companies pull all the time.

There is so much cache to be first to set foot there, and as I stated the long term vast economic interest, I just cannot understand anyone who does not see this as inevitable. The only reason I say it will be a private company rather than a government is private companies can always move faster and cheaper, not even China could beat private companies at this point even un-encumbered with pesky things like need for approval from the populace.

Humans landing on Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39723183)

We humans land on Mars, it will not be a government that sends them there.

Correct. It will be the Union Aerospace Corporation [wikipedia.org] instead.

Re:Not an end, a dawn. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39725979)

No, instead we get multiple companies giving us more frequent space travel, for humans and cargo alike.

We humans land on Mars, it will not be a government that sends them there.

I think that's unlikely, for the first people anyway.

I think it will be a government that sends people to Mars, but a private rocket that gets them from earth to their LEO rendezvous with their Mars vessel which was similarly brought up piecemeal by commercial rockets.

It's the commoditization of LEO access that is going to bring about a new dawn. It'll be a long time after that before the next leaps in space are conquered by private ventures, and it'll probably be well after governments already paved the way.

When humanity stopped looking toward the stars (4, Insightful)

concealment (2447304) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722039)

Our modern world is very inward-focused. If it's not on the ego, it's on those social problems that never go away. These may be important, but I think space exploration is more important. Humanity does its best when it has a frontier, and some goal to shoot for. That fills us with a sense of hope and power. That in turn pushes us to be better than we were. When we stop exploring the stars and look inward, there's really nothing of interest left, just some intractable problems. The Romans couldn't fix them, the Greeks couldn't fix them, and we can't either. That kind of mentality could make people depressed and stubbornly selfish.

Re:When humanity stopped looking toward the stars (1, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722491)

You can't even get Americans to collectively pay for a sane first world health care system. How can you justify forcing them to pay for space exploration? It's all about the individual and doing things your own way, not about society functioning as a whole for a greater good. This is where China really differs, where the government has long term goals instead of the next election or tomorrow's headlines.

Where democracies always fall down (1)

concealment (2447304) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722669)

It's all about the individual and doing things your own way, not about society functioning as a whole for a greater good. This is where China really differs, where the government has long term goals instead of the next election or tomorrow's headlines.

Dictatorships are always more effective for getting specific things done in a long-term sense. Democracies are better at producing wealth, because people prefer to live in them. I don't know where this leaves us, but you're right that their more powerful central command structure helps the Chinese be fierce competitors and eventually, a fierce military threat.

Re:Where democracies always fall down (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39723587)

Powerful central command has a way of imploding on itself when the power reaches a certain point. Plus, all the best people bail out of that scene and go to places in the world where there isn't a huge government bureaucracy commanding them to act in a particular way. In recent history that place has been the U.S. I don't know that the best scientists, engineers, and doctors are striving to emigrate to China. Maybe they are. Who has the evidence to show so.

Granted, the U.S. is at the moment headed by an administration that seems to seek to make things more China-like, but without the central power structure in place it thankfully can't be forced on the people. There aren't too many 'hinterland with large population that can be cooerced' places like 1940's China for zealous parties to take over, so thankfully the political/economic structures of that era are on the way to the dustbins of history.

What all the above has to do with the 'last' flight containing a high volume of scrap detris from the Shuttle Program ? Well, the huge massive NASA program of the past was a relic of the Cold War. And not just in a keeping-up-with-the-jonses sense. 'Big projects at NASA' funding slowly faded away with a whimper when the Cold War ended. The Government no longer needed to find 'nice appearing' ways to fund research into better ways to deliver Warheads (oops, I meant 'cargo bay shipments' and 'scientific satellites'... sorry) to places where the Military thought they were needed.

You've just perfectly described... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39724587)

When we stop exploring the stars and look inward, there's really nothing of interest left, just some intractable problems. The Romans couldn't fix them, the Greeks couldn't fix them, and we can't either. That kind of mentality could make people depressed and stubbornly selfish.

...a terminal disease cause by auto-immune disorder.

Re:When humanity stopped looking toward the stars (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39726497)

That's funny, just last night I was looking at the stars. And admiring these choice shots [harvard.edu] from the Spitzer space telescope.

I don't think getting rid of what was supposed to be like a pickup truck but ended up with the cost structure of a fighter jet represents ceasing to look towards the stars.

Please fix the embeeded video width! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722075)

A fix to the embedded video player, please!! (Or a link to the full-width youtube version. Please!)

Had to re-read the first sentence. (1)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722223)

Searched for "come out of the closet" comments. Disappointed to find out that it was "closest".

Mixed Feelings (2)

fearofcarpet (654438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39722257)

One of the most amazing things that I have seen was a shuttle launch. I was close enough to watch it from lift-off all the way until it wasn't visible in the sky anymore; basically as close as you can get without being invited to sit in the bleachers inside the Space Center. More than anything, I remember the sound and the profound feeling of national pride. I felt a connection to my father, whose face still involuntarily conveys a feeling of wonder and awe when he talks about the moon landing. Experiences like that lead me to become a scientist. I have mixed feelings now, knowing that my son will never have a chance to see it for himself, but that he may some day be able to buy a ticket to go to space himself. Let's hope he can afford business class.

Strategic Error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722571)

Killing off the Manned Space program was a huge error and a real tragedy for the USA.
The whole world has watched the US Space program in awe, and the technological benefits that have trickled down into everyday life for Billions are immense and a huge payback on the investment that it took to put a Man on the Moon.
The fact that today, the USA has no way to put a Man into LEO is truly depressing.
Newt is a dork, but at least he had one good idea, revitalize the USA's Space program. And do it big. Like everything else that the USA has done that was worthwhile.
O'bama (that fine Irish lad) just doesn't get it.

Are you all crazy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39722955)

It's rare to see so much hyperbolic balderdash on slashdot. The shuttle was practically designed with slide rules and is at this point a technological embarrassment. It's impressive for when it was made, but so was the Commodore 64. That's the best humanity has to offer? I sincerely say hello no. Who in their right minds thinks the US government and a politically controlled agency can do anything right? Do you really want the government in charge of something as important as space travel? The government is incapable of doing ANYTHING efficiently, on time, or on budget. All this romanticism about "ohh I love seeing burning fuel shooting up into the sky" and the sentiment that things are going to hell and there will never be anything as good... is the sentiment of old people who are on their way out. Get off of my fucking lawn and make room for the future - what a bunch of whining has-beens. Today is here, you can do absolutely anything. Quit living in the past and get out and do something that makes the past look as pathetic as it is. Or cry over your chamomile tea about how kids today don't appreciate how awesome buggies used to be.

Re:Are you all crazy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39724001)

If you look at privatized space travel as akin to the airline industry, your text: "The government is incapable of doing ANYTHING efficiently, on time, or on budget." is extremely laughable. Privatizing will do more harm than good (ie. fares out of control, accident rates, teaching people to be astronauts in 10 minutes or less). Although, I wonder if the TSA would have to have a special pat down procedure for space.

Re:Are you all crazy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39726007)

I admittedly know very little about commercial aviation, but I must be misunderstanding what you are saying. Commercial airfare is cheap, and accident rates are very low. Are you saying commercial space travel will be more dangerous and expensive than government run space travel? I'm not sure how you could run a successful space travel business if you were killing your passengers routinely and it was more expensive than it should be. In that situation, capitalistic competition should cause the dangerous and expensive companies to go out of business. Not to mention that killing your customers is generally incredibly expensive (I think the airlines can vouch for that one - which is why they keep their planes safe, they would go bankrupt if they didn't. Oh wait, they routinely go bankrupt already because of bad management - my bad ;-) ).

Imagine a commercial airline that was expensive and dangerous - they would go out of business. Imagine a governmental operated airline that was expensive and dangerous - they would just get a larger operating budget to try and fix their problems. Wait, I think something like that exists - it's called NASA. I half-joke with that line - I think NASA is awesome, as a concept. Space is exciting and important. But there is no question in my mind that private industry could do a better job, except on areas where fundamental research is required. NASA should do fundamental research. Just getting stuff into orbit? That's not fundamental research, that's F=MA. I'm also ignoring the fact that military space stuff is alive and well, that's a whole different discussion. The shuttle is just a reusable platform. Time for a new one already!!! If your car was as old as the space shuttle, it would have an antique license plate.

I'm just in a ranting mood today, and I'm just thinking out loud, but I just don't see how the shuttle isn't past its expiration date. The political management of coming up with a replacement is a real issue, but doesn't change the fact that the shuttle itself is not the answer. Would you want to drive a car from 1982? That's when the first operational flight of the space shuttle was. 1982!!!! Like I said, antique - cars are eligible for an antique plate when they are 25 years old. The shuttle was designed more than 30 years ago.

Re:Are you all crazy? (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39724397)

It's rare to see so much hyperbolic balderdash on slashdot. The shuttle was practically designed with slide rules and is at this point a technological embarrassment. It's impressive for when it was made, but so was the Commodore 64. That's the best humanity has to offer? I sincerely say hello no. Who in their right minds thinks the US government and a politically controlled agency can do anything right? Do you really want the government in charge of something as important as space travel? The government is incapable of doing ANYTHING efficiently, on time, or on budget. All this romanticism about "ohh I love seeing burning fuel shooting up into the sky" and the sentiment that things are going to hell and there will never be anything as good... is the sentiment of old people who are on their way out. Get off of my fucking lawn and make room for the future - what a bunch of whining has-beens. Today is here, you can do absolutely anything. Quit living in the past and get out and do something that makes the past look as pathetic as it is. Or cry over your chamomile tea about how kids today don't appreciate how awesome buggies used to be.

You're nothing but a corporate propaganda success story.

Transcript (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39725255)

Title: The Space Shuttle Discovery's Last Mile
Description: An amazing variety of people turned out to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery's last landing ever. Slashdot's Timothy Lord talked with some of them.

[00:00] <TITLE>
The SlashdotTV logo bar reading "Thousands of people watched space shuttle Discovery's last flight. Timothy Lord talked with a few of them" over a view of the space shuttle Discovery on the back of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (an extensively modified Boeing 747) as it descends with people whooping and applauding.

[00:16] <TITLE>
Throughout the interview various interviewees appear, some with name indicated in a SlashdotTV logo bar, some without.
Those without will be indicated by descriptive title.

[00:16] Patsy and Robert Davis, brother and Sister>
Robert> We're from Fairfax, Virginia.
Patsy> And where'd you get your shirt?
Robert> I got my shirt [at] Kennedy Space Center years ago when the Discovery took off.
Patsy> And my shirt is.. now; the Discovery arriving here in D.C.

[00:35] Young girl in front of van>
It was really cool.

[00:37] Young boy in front of van>
It was really big.

[00:38] Man interviewing a dog, pictured>
Are you gonna bark at that airplane?

[00:40] Timothy>
Had you seen other launches before?

[00:41] Man with beard and older man in hat in front of a red van>
Man> Never been to a launch.
Man> This is history *laughs*
Older man> I've been to ones at Cape Kennedy, a couple of 'm.
Older man> Saw the space shuttle blow up.
Older man> You know, I was in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the time and, about, I guess about a minute it took off - it was over the horizon for most - took about a minute before we saw it comin' up.

[01:03] Francis and Nathan Dorsey>
Nathan> We're here to see - what I was amazingly enough just explaining to him when you came up - shuttle history.
Nathan> This is, for me, the last time we're gonna see the shuttle fly - so to speak - so I wanted him to be a part of that.
Nathan> I've been a space buff since I was.. before his age, actually.. and I've seen several launches - no landings, unfortunately.
Nathan> I followed the space program since the Mercury days.

[01:32] <TITLE>
The SlashdotTV logo bar appears, reading "All the way from Tokyo, just to see the last space shuttle landing".

[01:32] Timothy>
Could you tell us your name, and how to spell it?

[01:35] Chie>
Chie

[01:38] Timothy>
And where did you come from today?

[01:40] Chie>
From Japan, Tokyo.

[01:43] Man in cap with family>
Best birthday ever!

[01:45] Man in sunglasses>
Well, it flew right over us, had my daughters on my shoulders, and we couldn't really get a picture - but it was pretty cool, I would say!

[01:55] Woman with glasses>
It went right over our heads as we were stuck on the highway in traffic.

[01:58] Young man in sunglasses>
We're from Tucson, Arizona, coming here to see the museum and then we saw it fly right over our heads as we were sitting on the freeway there.

[02:05] Boy in white shirt>
Awesome, but like the true definition of 'awesome', and not the overused version, I guess.
You know, it flew directly over our heads and it's pretty awe-inspiring to see a space shuttle on a 747 flying right above you.

[02:19] Woman with family in a car>
I pulled my kids out of school today, because I believe this is history in the making, and it's science.
When Discovery was supposed to be launched back in January I was going to pull my kids out of school, make a nice road trip to Florida, but it was cancelled because of weather.
then they rescheduled it for February, so I was gonna drive 'm again, but it was cancelled.
Then it went off in March, but I couldn't pull my kids out of school 3 times to road trip to Florida, so this was the next best thing - was to see it land today and hopefully my kids will.. I'll pass 'm down the appreciation for the space program and what comes with that and science and history.

[02:59] Derrick Baker>
Ever since I was a little boy - I'd say, I think I was.. right around the Challenger accident, I was in elementary school, and I was interested in what happened.
From that point on I learned [...]

[03:13] <TITLE>
An airplane noisily flies by in the background, prompting Derrick to pause.

[03:17] Derrick Baker>
So all through high school and middle school I was very interested and did research - watched a couple of launches - and then recently, in the last few years, I went with my wife to see a couple of launches.
Went to school, in college, for aeronautical science, got my Masters in aeronautical science, to go be a part of it!
But, unfortunately, they shut it down, so now I'm looking for SpaceX or Orbital or Blue Origin - something along those lines in the private sector to go ahead and see if I can get in with them, to be a part of it.

[03:52] Guy with two girls>
Really nothing else like it.
Having seen a launch and how this - you know, I could probably die happy.

[03:57] <TITLE>
A shot of the aft side of the combined flight appears with people whooping and clapping, as the SlashdotTV logo bar fades in, reading "We are anxiously waiting for the next American passenger spaceship to take off...."

Different angle (1)

merky1 (83978) | more than 2 years ago | (#39726587)

Different view of the landing - shaky cam, and bad audio to boot : http://youtu.be/p3Xyj-KIuUg [youtu.be]

And why didn't Houston get a shuttle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39726679)

Explain to me what LA had to do with the space program? How could Houston, the center of mission control, NOT get a retired shuttle?

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