Shuttle Discovery Begins Last Mission

By LCR Contributor Barrell Rider

The Space Shuttle Discovery is now on its last mission into space. When it returns to earth in eleven days, it will mark the beginning of the end for the space shuttle program. Discovery is the first of the three remaining shuttles to be decommissioned. Atlantis and Endeavour will make their final flights later this year.

The Shuttle program has enjoyed great success and tragedy during the 30 years of going supersonic. I recall playing with my NASA die-cast shuttle as a young child and sometimes getting up early to watch the launches live on television.

Perhaps many of us remember the day of the Challenger tragedy. I was in middle school science class one hour after the shuttle had exploded and it was a somber afternoon. We were supposed to watch the launch tape-delayed. There was also the more recent Columbia tragedy, which happened during re-entry, both events killed all on board.

It’s important to note that the accomplishments of the Shuttle program have far outshined any tragedy and the enormous risk involved with such missions are often overlooked by those on the outside. After all, an overwhelming majority of missions have gone quite smoothly. It is too bad that the shuttle program is not a priority for the government. I believe that the shuttle program pushes the envelope of technology and engineering to its limits. Much of the knowledge gained from such research, design, implementation and problem solving undoubtedly spills over into the civilian and global population.

I encourage all to follow these last three missions and remember all of the amazing accomplishments that the shuttle program has produced. How can you not be amazed at a vehicle that goes from zero to 17,000 miles per hour in about eight minutes! Ferrari and Lamborghini, eat your hearts out!

Space Shuttle Fun Facts:
-The Space Shuttle is the world’s first reusable spacecraft that can carry large satellites both to and from orbit
-The Shuttle launches like a rocket but lands like an airplane
-The Shuttle orbits the earth in 90 minutes
-Discovery has logged 453 million miles prior to her last mission, she will cover another 4.5 million over her final 11 days in orbit
-Discovery transported the Hubble Telescope into space


  1. Living in Jacksonville Florida, I saw many Apollo launches from the front yard. I also saw the Challenger explode as I was driving to a friends house... Didn't realize what had happened until latter on in the day.

  2. I live in Central Florida; the Discovery launch brought many people to tears. It's really hard saying good bye.

  3. Thank you, Barack Obama, for ending the space program as we know it!

  4. I have very vivid memories of the Challenger tragedy...I echo Proof as well, thank you, BHO for having such lofty priorities.

  5. Just another example of the suppression of progress by Obama. He would rather divert the money to Chicago and TARP. I guess the Russians and Chinese will service the space stations and satellites...


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