Nature India | Indigenus

Shuttle shuts shop

India’s GSAT-12 Communication Satellite, launched onboard Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C17), perched itself successfully in the geosynchronous orbit this week. On the other side of the globe, curtains came down on NASA’s three decade long space shuttle programme.

Here’s a lovely video made by colleagues at Nature Videos marking the end of NASA’s shuttle programme with the return of Atlantis to Earth: Space Shuttle: The complete missions .

The video is a journey of NASA’s incredible reusable space transportation system that sent five shuttles — Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour — with 355 men and women into space. It has endearing visuals of their triumphs and losses, the rigours of a space mission and the techonological prowess involved in such programmes.

American President Ronald Reagan’s historic words after the crash of Challenger in January 1986 seem prophetic on hindsight as the shuttle programme’s dream run comes to an end: “The future doesn’t belong to the faint hearted, it belongs to the brave.”

You might also want to read this Nature Network blog interviewing Charlotte Stoddart of the Nature Video team on the making of the video. There’s also a Nature special talking about the end of the space shuttle programme and the uncertain future of the human space flight.


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