This picture of Atlantis re-entering the Earth's atmosphere was taken by astronauts aboard ISS.
Well a long and illustrious saga in space operations comes to a close!
April-12-1981 to July-21-2011
Personally I don't know how the people at NASA are going to keep themselves busy, now that the space shuttle program is officially retired. There might not be a need for people who just know shuttle stuff at NASA and can't work on any other program. These people could be called back up to service and the only way I would see that happening is barring any catastrophic problem aboard the International Space Station. If that station requires help, and the only thing that could give them that type of help was a space shuttle, if that happens we all might see one more launch, but I wouldn't hold my breath on it.
There's got to be a lot of people at NASA, now former space shuttle workers and engineer's that are antsy about what happens to them!?! I know some will carry on with NASA, maybe be assigned to the on going Mars lander missions, some will move onto small and medium delivery payload rocket programs, some to helping NASA with their satellite and Earth research programs, but some will most likely be getting a nice "pink slip" in their boxes and being told to go home.
I wish NASA the best, now that their primary "main stay" program has been scrubbed. I've never known a 3 legged table to be any good to anyone. That has now happened to NASA, one of their table legs has been chopped out from under their table, only time will tell if the table falls or not.
I remember watching the first Space Shuttle launch from my step Dad's work office, I sat there at his desk glued to the Television, watching history unfold right in front of my very eye's. I was 11 years old when the shuttle first launched! I remember watching the Space Shuttle Challenger catastrophe when I was 16 years old. I remember President Ronald Reagan give his "touch the face of God" speech from the White House's Oval Office. I remember getting word about the Space Shuttle Columbia shattering apart above the sky's of Texas. I'm just glad that I had lived to see the shuttle program from start to finish!
But I would like to pay my respects here to the brave men & women who honorably and willingly put their lives on the line, and paid the ultimate price, all in the name of the future of mankind.
Space Shuttle Challenger - STS-51-L - January-28-1986
Astronaut: Ellison S. Onizuka
Astronaut/School Teacher: Christa McAuliffe
Astronaut: Greg Jarvis
Astronaut: Judy Resnik
Astronaut: Michael J. Smith
Astronaut: D. Scobee
Astronaut: Ron McNair
Space Shuttle Columbia - STS-107 - February-1-2003
Astronaut: David M. Brown
Astronaut: Rick D. Husband
Astronaut: Laurel Clark
Astronaut: Kalpana Chawla
Astronaut: Michael P. Anderson
Astronaut: William McCool
I.S.A. Astronaut: Ilan Ramon
"Thank you one and all for your sacrifice, I bow both my head and my sword in your name"!
I feel the same way about Challenger and Columbia.
Talk about bravery, sitting on a bomb just to reach the stars.