Quite vividly do I remember when I sat in my parents’ living room on 12 April 1981, watching the launch of ‘Columbia’ on television. The ↑first flight of a ↑Space Shuttle into orbit. During the years when men walked the moon I was too young, and hence have no recollection of that at all. For me the Space Shuttle program was, like the Cold War, something that defined the world of my childhood. The Space Shuttles transposed what I read in comic books and science fiction stories into empirical, everyday reality. In July this year the era came to an end with the ↑last flight of Space Shuttle ‘Atlantis.’ Once I read somewhere that the Space Shuttle orbiters are the most complex machines mankind has built to date. Since 19 December 2011 a ↑set of wonderful photographies is online at collectSPACE, in a way giving a sense of this complexity.
Space shuttle Atlantis, which only five months ago flew the final mission of NASA’s 30-year shuttle program, is now being prepared for its public display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Its insides being pulled out to ensure it is safe for exhibit, as well as significantly lighten it for its planned steep-angled display, Atlantis is scheduled to be powered down this week for the final time.
collectSPACE had the rare opportunity recently to tour Atlantis to photograph its preparation and capture its glass cockpit powered and lit for one of its last times.