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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Space Shuttle Discovery Lift Off - April 5, 2010

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off successfully on April 5 2010 for mission STS-131, one of the last missions before the program is retired. The photo below is an amazing shot of that lift off from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA!

Just take a gander at this beauty and see if you don't agree with me.

From NASA Image of the Day image description:
The seven-member crew will deliver the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, filled with supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the International Space Station's laboratories. The crew also will switch out a gyroscope on the station’s truss, install a spare ammonia storage tank and retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior.

Image Credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Tom Farrar (NASA Image of the Day Gallery). You can find even larger, higher quality image formats there. [Since this image was produced by NASA, it is in the Public Domain and is not copyright protected. As such it can be freely downloaded, copied, and distributed.]

I think it will be a sad day when these missions finally come to an end as President Obama has directed with no equivalent replacement program identified yet. The U.S. return to the Moon program has also been axed by Obama while mission development was well underway. What a waste, I say! And U.S. leadership in space will quickly decline in an age when leadership in and exploration of space is most important.

But whatever becomes the U.S. space program, mankind in general will remain a species of inquiry into and exploration of the Universe. One way or another, I believe that you just can't take that out of mankind - and we will ultimately find a way that is not dependent on the petty political agendas of any nation!

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