Darvin Atkeson

San Francisco's Farewell to the Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle Endeavor makes it final pass over San Francisco's skyline as the city came to a complete halt during the flyby to say farewell to the Space Shuttle program. And thus ends one of the most remarkable chapters in Manned Space Flight. The shuttle would make its way from San Francisco south along the Bay Area and down the coast of California to Los Angeles before landing for the last time to become a part of history at its final resting place in at the California Science Center in Southern California.

The Space Shuttle was by far the most elegant of any vehicle launched into space and it will likely be sometime before we see such graceful lines launched beyond the Earths grip. The Shuttle gave us some of the most iconic pictures over the last 34 years. From the first flights of the shuttle Enterprise as it soared over the Southern California High Desert to the stunning images from low Earth orbit that gave us those remarkable views of our small blue green planet from outer space. With the iconic triumphs like the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station also came heartbreak as the high risk of leaving our planet twice became apparent and reminded us that Space Flight is not for the timid.

It was sad to see her pass into history, knowing that NASA no longer has any method by which to launch manned space flights stings a bit as we now rely on our former Cold War adversary, the Russians, to take American astronauts up to the International Space Station. A Space Station that the Space Shuttle was in no small part responsible for constructing.

But hopefully, in the not too distant future, Americans will return to manned space flight and the vast knowledge we gained from the Shuttle Program will enable us to reach heights we never thought possible. To those who flew and worked on the Space Shuttles, we salute and thank you for your efforts and out of this world achievements.

© Darvin Atkeson

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