In Memoriam: The Space Shuttle

With great ambivalence we note the passing of 
the first and only reusable spaceship, the space shuttle, 
on July 21, 2011. Our prayers are with NASA.

From my article in the January 2012 issue of Discover
(#6 of the top 100 science stories of 2011)

The space shuttle, which long served NASA and humankind as a low-Earth-orbit 18-wheeler, died on July 21 at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, after gliding to an uneventful touchdown from a routine mission. It was 39 years old. The shuttle program had been suffering for several years from a wasting loss of enthusiasm for its high price tag and untamed risks. The final cause of death was failure to find any reason to keep pouring billions of dollars into an obsolete space ferry that lacked a stirring mission…read more

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