Ep 30 of 2011
Last week saw the end of an era as the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down at Cape Canaveral in Florida for the very last time, 42 years after astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon
CHRIS FERGUSON: Mission complete Houston after serving the world for over 30 years, this space shuttle has earned its place in history and it's come to a final stop.
50 year old Commander Chris Ferguson brought Atlantis back from its last mission into space and reflected on the achievements of America in space.
CHRIS FERGUSON: We got to take the ride. We sure hope that everybody who has ever worked or touched or look at or envied or admired a space shuttle was able to take just a little part of the journey with us.
Even NASA was sentimental about the last shuttle mission.
NASA ANNOUNCER: Having fired the imagination of a generation, a ship like no other, its place in history secured, the space shuttle pulls into port for the last time, its voyage at an end.
Even shuttle launch director Michael Leinbach took time out to reflect on what had been.
MIKE LEINBACH: There were good emotions that we brought the crew home safely and the mission is completely, certainly sadness that it is over and people will be moving on and I hate to see them leave but that is a reality. I saw grown men and grown women crying today, tears of joy to be sure and that was just human emotions came out on the runway today and you couldn't suppress them.
The shuttle and its four-member crew touched down at Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral at 5:56am local time (07:56pm Thursday AEST), ending an era of human space exploration for the United States and leaving Russia as the world's only taxi to the ISS. Atlantis dove back into Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of 122,000 metres, plunging through temperatures of up to 1,371 degrees Celsius at about 25 times the speed of sound.
After 135 missions, the American shuttle program is now over and it’s a time of mixed emotions for the close-knit NASA community, with the workforce reeling from thousands of job losses.
The space shuttle program has certainly had it’s up and downs, jubilation and tragedy, but 30 years on, now with tight budgets and the American economy in dire straights, the US president Barack Obama has ordered the agency to focus its resources on sending people to an asteroid by 2015 and to Mars by 2030.
This week on
Tech Talk Radio
The space shuttle returns to earth for the final time, so what now for NASA? Internode are the first to release pricing for access to the NBN, Apple rolls out new MacBook Air, and we look at the performance of the new Mac Mini, Google continues its clean up with Labs and Firefox deleted, the price of 3D TVs seem to be falling and Adam is still living the media center dream.
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