The Space shuttle is part of history, an exciting history at that. It first flew in 1983 and had a last flight in March 2011. It was its 39th and last flight. The space shuttle is now being retired and taken to the Smithsonian Museum in Virginia.
The shuttle will be mounted atop the Boeing 747 Jumbo and flown out of Florida. The Boeing 747 is known as the shuttle carrier aircraft and is specially modified to carry the 167,000 pound (73,300 Kilogram) space shuttle. The space shuttle had been brought by the same aircraft to NASA center in 1983. The six astronauts who last flew the space shuttle will be present. It will be a touching ceremony.
The space shuttle was a new concept of a reusable entry vehicle and did tremendous good research. No other country could match the space shuttle, though there was talk of Japanese space shuttle, but it never took off from the ground. There were some accidents, but over all the entire space shuttle program was a success. However about 15 crew members lost their lives in the flights.
The shuttle carrier aircraft NASA 905 has flown the shuttle on 14 occasions out of a total of 18 ferry flights. The space shuttle aircraft with its precious load will arrive at Washington Dulles International airport on Tuesday 17 April 2012. It will take a day to off load the shuttle from the back of the Boeing. After that it will be rolled over to the National Air and Space Museum located adjacent to the airport in Chantilly, Va. Before being inducted in as an exhibit a ceremony commemorating its flights will be held.
The space shuttle brought the dream of man for a manned space ship that could enter the earth’s atmosphere and fly out again a reality. It was launched by a rocket and entered space where it orbited the earth before making a landing on the earth. It had special heat insulators to take care of the extreme temperatures generated when it re-entered the atmosphere.
The space shuttle is now part of history and future visitors to the museum will be able to see the space shuttle as a relic that furthered space research