- Written by Josh
This week saw the completion of one of NASA's great journeys. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) landed successfully on Mars. This 500 million kilometre journey began back in November 2011. As one great journey ends another begins.
The plans for Endeavours arrival at the California Science Centre have been revealed. In a Unique parade the Space shuttle will make a 12 mile trip through the streets of Los Angeles. This will be the first time that a shuttle has made such a journey. Famous for flying round the Earth at 17,000mph the slow steady journey will seem somewhat tame. But this parade will give everyone a chance to see the majestic craft up close.
Endeavour is the newest vehicle in the shuttle fleet. The shuttle has been involved in 25 missions, including STS-88, when the first American piece of the International Space station was installed. As it was built later than the other shuttles, Endeavour was constructed with a few addition upgrades. Extra technology added the potential for longer missions, better parachutes for stopping and a system that allowed the orbiter to draw power from the ISS allowing it to stay docked for longer. This technology was later fitted to the other vehicles they proved successful on Endeavour.
Over the course of the year NASA's shuttles have been making their way to science centres around America. They are beginning their potentially greatest mission, being tools in inspire the next generation of space enthusiasts. The retirement of the shuttle program was met with great trepidation especially as it left America with no human spaceflight capabilities. Having announced the Space Launch System and working closely with private companies, space shuttle replacements are just around the corner. This means we can rest assured that the retirement the shuttles have been afforded can be welcomed and appreciated. The opening of the shuttles to the public means that people can get up close and personal with the craft that defined an era is humanities exploration of space.