Final Mission: Space Shuttle Discovery to Launch Today

February 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Science News, Television | Leave a comment
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“Discovery, you are free of all time traveling stowaways and clear to launch.”

As a child of the 70s and early 80s I kind of grew up with the space shuttle program. I remember seeing the first test flights from Cape Canaveral in 1977 and 1978 that were little more than hauling this giant brick with tiny wings up into the sky on the back of a larger aircraft and dropping it just to see if it could even be flown like a plane. It had the same appeal as watching auto racing in that you were hoping for a win but a spectacular crash would have been just as much fun to watch. Sadly we found out the hard way that when such a vehicle crashes, it’s less spectacle and more of a national tragedy.

It has been 56 years since the first X-15, the precursor to the Space Shuttle and the technology around which it was built, was first built and flown by American astronaut and space pioneer Neil Armstrong.  Today’s launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery closes the door on this fantastic and sometimes tragic fleet of ships that revolutionized space travel and captured the imagination of several generations.

The shuttle launches today at 4:30 PM EST. The launch will be carried live on C-Span. Check your local cable listings for channel and times.

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For more information on today’s shuttle launch and the history of the program I would direct you to this article from Space.com.

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