Shuttle Perspective

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The Space Shuttle marks a change of standards for US astronauts. The Shuttle provided a smooth return to Earth from orbit and the ability to choose which landing strip to arrive at. The modified 747 allowed NASA to move a Shuttle from one landing strip to a launch site and gives a good indication of the size of the Shuttle. The Shuttle provided the spacecraft equivalent of a modern heavy military truck, able to carry crew and a heavy payload. NASA was only limited on the number of launches by preparation time and funding. The crew could range from two to eight and the payload could be a large cargo of supplies and spares for the ISS, or a large satellite. Importantly, the Shuttle could link up with space objects to allow them to be repaired in orbit or placed in the cargo bay for return to Earth and repair, replacement and/or analysis.

Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft

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With the grounding of the last Shuttle, a few US astronauts may be able to hitch a ride on a Russian spacecraft if the Russians have any spare capacity. There wont be any space to carry a useful payload and the fixed route is from the Russian launch site to the ISS and return. Coming back the US astornauts will come down to Earth with a bump. The mode of transport will be the spacecraft equivalent of an old Lada so NASA also comes down to Earth with a bump.

Now that the party is over

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The twin sonic boom signature of the Space Shuttle as it became subsonic were heard at Cape Canaveral this morning for the last time. As the wheels touched the tarmac and the braking ‘shute streamed, an era in space exploration came to a premature end and the US handed over the baton to other nations. This is the forth time that the US has wavered in its commitment to space exploration.

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Atlantis Completes Final Space Shuttle Program Landing at 5:57 a.m. EDT

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Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the last time and ended the 30-year-long Space Shuttle era on 21 July 2011. This was 135th flight and the 25th night landing of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Main gear touchdown was at 11:56:58 CEST.

Credits: NASA

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 11:18:04 AM GMT

At 5:57 a.m. EDT, space shuttle Atlantis landed for the final time at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after 200 orbits around Earth and a journey of 5,284,862 miles on STS-135.

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Does Milliband Have Denyability?

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Milliband’s pie thrower in handcuffs

Ed “Wallace” Milliband is desperate to milk every drop of political benefit from the Murdock scandal and yesterday was caught trying to turn Milly Dowler’s tragic death to his advantage, but so far his part in the custard pie event is less clear. Has he employed News Corp denyability tactics?

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