In case you were on a deserted island, or were in an area that suffered a complete blackout of electricity, you’ve probably heard that the American Nasa Space Shuttle program has been scrapped.
The space shuttle has been in operation since 1981, and was the world’s only set of reusable spacecraft. The space shuttles have been retired after 135 missions into space. Major missions included launching numerous satellites and interplanetary probes, conducting space science experiments, and servicing and construction of space stations.
The Space shuttle Atlantis was the last of these great craft to be in operation, flying the 135th mission which ended on Thursday July 21st 2011 delivering supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).
With the end of the shuttle program and currently no other reusable spacecraft on the horizon to take it’s place, who knows what the future will bring for the next generation of space travel. This however marks the end of an era for the mankind’s space program, and like the Concorde has secured it’s place in history as one of the world’s most important machines.
Have a look at Atlantis’s last flight, some blueprints and illustrations of the Space shuttles, and an infographic giving some more insights into the space shuttle program.
Space shuttle Atlantis landing at the end of the final space shuttle mission.
A history of the Space shuttle program in an infographic