The End of The Beginning or The Beginning of The End?

July 8th 2011 is a day that will be long remembered throughout Human history.

On this day, the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis was launched on its’, and the space shuttle programme’s, final mission, ending thirty years of U.S. manned space flight. From now until the still doubtful deployment of the Constellation/Ares replacement vehicle, astronauts will have to be launched into space by Russian rockets.

That in and of itself isn’t a bad thing as it means that manned missions will still take place and if the U.S. congress can get the funding together for the Constellation programme, the end of the orbiter will just be a brief hiatus from U.S. manned space flight.

Hopefully us Brits will have something nice for the world in a little while http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13520948

In the meantime, being the nerd I am, I’ve collected all the shuttle mission patches for your enjoyment.

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