Farewell to an icon

Thu, 21 July 2011

That's it then. The last flight of the space shuttle ended at 11.22am UK time today, 21st July 2011. Atlantis touched down after a perfect mission and added the full stop to 30 years of space shuttle flights. 

 
Emotional? Me? Hang on whilst I drain the tears from the keyboard.
 
I've followed the shuttle since I was old enough to grasp what it was. Nearly thirty years of drawing spaceships (and handing the drawings to often frustrated primary school teachers) started when I first saw a white plane climb into the sky on a pillar of flame and wondered if it would ever be me. I think at some stage in their life, every boy in my generation wanted to be there in the cabin just once. Not just me and my generation though. I think a lot of kids' dreams may have died today.
 
I shed tears twice. Once when the double sonic boom sounded for the last time, and once when the APU was switched off and the shuttle stopped breathing for the last time. Watch the videos of the landing and you'll know what I mean). Then, oddly, once more when I looked at the Wikipedia article on the shuttle and noticed that "The Space Shuttle was a reusable launch system and orbital spacecraft..." had become "The Space Shuttle was a reusable launch system and orbital spacecraft...".
 
The shuttle passes into history today.
 
My icon. 

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