So STS-134 Space Shuttle Endeavour is returning back to Earth as i type this and July 8th see's STS-135 Space Shuttle Atlantis make the last ever NASA shuttle flight before retirement.
I must say, i do feel a little bit sad that these marvels of space travel will no longer be in use.
I also believe that they've changed things for the better.
This also brings back a memory of a lifetime for me.
During a trip to Florida 2007, we were lucky enough to be there when STS-117 Atlantis was launched and to say it was overwhelming is an understatement !!!
Even though we were about 7 miles from Kennedy Space Centre, we parked on the edge of the highway that leads into Port Canaveral with the masses that also come to see the event live, but being Americans, they turn out in style ! Big camper vans with seating on the roof and pick ups with huge BBQ's straped to the back and big cool boxes full of ice cold beer ! The atmosphere is electric.
Everyone tunes the radio to NASA launch control and the last 10 seconds of the countdown being called out by all ...
"And Lift off " comes the call over the airwaves as a huge cheer erupts.
Seconds later, you see plumes of smoke followed by an intense yellow glow as the massive engines power the craft skywards.
A few moments later there's quiet from the crowd as we all wait for the soundwave which when it comes, sounds like a bag of marbles being dropped onto a big drum and listerned to through a drainpipe ! (thats my description of it anyway !)
A wierd sound but so unforgetable. One that will stay with me for ever as will the image of what has to be the U.S.A's greatest machine.
Fairwell to the Space Shuttle.
My pictures of STS-117 below.