It was April 12, 1981 when the Columbia Space Shuttle rocketed out to earth's thermosphere to explore and extend mankind's limits to outer space. Space Transportation System (STS)-1 was the first of 135 mission carried out by five space shuttles (Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour) and a test vehicle (Enterprise). In a span of 30 years
, the Space Shuttle Missions, carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA
), was able to successfully assemble a space station, deploy multiple satellites as well as retrieving some, and many more difficult tasks given to it and its seven crew members. With its highs, the STS Mission also had its lows with the loss of two Space Shuttles resulting in the death of 14 astronauts (Challenger during liftoff in 1986; Columbia during re-entry in 2003). But on tomorrow, Space Shuttle Atlantis will launch for STS-135, which will be the last of the space shuttle missions
. Some may say that the STS mission has open mankind's eyes to the depth of space, making it an overall success but to others it has not left mankind any closer to the stars. But from here on, where will NASA bring us?
According to NASA Administrator
, Charles Bolden, the organization has goals to return to the moon, send man to Mars, deploy a vehicle on an asteroid and travel further into space. All this sounds incredible but the question is, is it do-able? For the now the Russians and its Soyuz mission is the only thing bringing mankind to the International Space Station and NASA only seem to be deteriorating with the ending of the Space Shuttle Mission, which was once the cornerstone of NASA and a source of great public interest. We could only wait and see what NASA is to do next as the future remains unclear
For more on the Last Space Shuttle Mission, below is a Vialogues on William Shatner helping NASA say goodbye to the program. You can also catch the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour at NASA.gov