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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Space Shuttle Rolls Into History

A quiet night landing of the space shuttle Atlantis, returning from the STS-135 mission, marked the end of the US space shuttle programme.

NASA's Constellation Program, which was projected to develop a replacement rocket for the space shuttle, was cancelled last year.

While the government is not currently working on a shuttle replacement, potential private sector candidates include the Falcon 9-Dragon vehicle from SpaceX, which has been successful in test launches so far, but is still in early development.

Thus for the foreseeable future the USA will no longer have any human-rated launch vehicle.

Without manned spacecraft, US astronauts will now have to rely solely on the Russian Soyuz to access the International Space Station.

Would you like to know more?

About the past future of spaceship design:
- Counterintuitive Science: Fast Speed, Fat Shape