I remember clearly that day in 1981 while still in secondary school, getting out a little early from school and making our way to Burke’s TV shop in Templemore, Co Tipperary. A group of us squeezed into the small shop to watch, the very first space shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Centre.
It’s still something that fascinates me and I always thought I would one day get to see a launch live, as it powered its way off the launch pad, but alas with final flight planned to lift off today that is not going to happen. It was a vital workhorse for the building of the International Space Station (ISS), which I still watch in awe whenever a clear sky permits a view as it orbits over Ireland. Many safety issues surround the shuttles with the loss of two shuttles and fourteen astronauts, those odds of losing a crew would be unacceptable in any other industry. With the shuttles getting older the only decision was to terminate the entire programme. All 3 remaining shuttles will be sent to various science centers in the US, with Atlantis on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Florida.
With a keen interest in space I wonder if I will ever see a craft with a crew on board lift off bound for Mars or beyond.