Thursday, March 10, 2011

Discovery: Mission Accomplished

Space shuttle Discovery returned to Earth on Wednesday from its final voyage.

Discovery ended its flying career with 148 million miles and 365 days spent in space during 39 missions.

Impressive stats. Well done, it has been a privilege to watch the space program unfolding in my lifetime.

Endeavour is due to lift off in 6 weeks, Atlantis sometime later. And for the future,

The goal is to send astronauts to an asteroid and then Mars in the decades ahead. There is not enough money for NASA to achieve that and maintain the shuttle program at the same time. As a result, the shuttles will stop flying this summer after 30 years.

American astronauts will keep hitching rides to the space station on Russian Soyuz capsules until private companies are able to provide taxi service to and from orbit. NASA expects to get another nine years out of the space station.

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