STS-135: A Final Tribute
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Kennedy Space Center recently released this wonderful video, an emotional farewell to the space shuttle program with a recap of the launch and landing of the STS-135 Atlantis mission. From the preparation of the four-person crew to the systems go for launch, the hundreds of thousands who gathered at the Cape to witness the historical event, the liftoff and separation of rocket boosters, and then the final landing and wheel stop, this video captures many of the “lasts” of the STS-135 mission.
Not to mention the last words as a shuttle pilot from Commander Chris Ferguson after wheelstop, and the powerful – albeit silent – sentiments from the gantry crew aboard the launch platform. This tribute is for everyone who dedicated their lives to these magnificent flying machines.
Four-and-a-half million pounds of hardware and humans, 135 launches, piercing the sky with fire and math. Each one bringing back more knowledge than when it left. The shuttles and their crews were truly marvels of engineering. No, they weren’t perfect. But they did what they did very well, and they enabled us to now be in the position to know how to make the next step. And you can’t put a price on that.
On behalf of all who have Designed & Built… Serviced & Loaded… Launched & Controlled… Operated & Flown These Magnificent Space Vehicles… Thank You for 30 years with Our Nation’s Space Shuttles! Godspeed Atlantis, God Bless America.
– Placards presented by the Launch Platform Crew, July 8, 2011