Thursday, February 9, 2017

Space Shuttle Atlantis

  You have to see this exhibit. Go there as soon as you can.

The Atlantis was the last mission of the shuttle. It's now in it's own building where you can see it up close. This was our second time to see it and I want to go back many more times. The Challenger and Columbia memorials are also in the building. There is more in the building but these photos are mostly of the Atlantis. I enlarged some so you can see more detail.
There are so many things to see and read, I could spend days there. Good thing we have annual passes. Google any subject about the Shuttles and you will find plenty of detailed information. 

STS-135 was the last flight of the Atlantis and the shuttle program.
It had 33 missions over a 26 year period.
Dr. Max A. Faget was the Director of Engineering and Development. He proposed the Shuttle program to his engineers on April 1, 1969. This is the paper model he tossed into the room during that meeting.
After the very moving introductory movie, this is what you see when the curtain goes up.
You are right in front of it.
A view of just some of the famous LI-900 silica tiles, made from essentially very pure quartz sand. They keep the reentry heat from burning up the shuttle.
The thruster jets are easy to see. Remember the front windows when you see the photo from the Columbia shuttle near the bottom of this blog.

The cargo bay is fully open so you can see all the details
Cargo bay, arm and exit hatch for space walking

Shuttle engines.

Bottom of the shuttle.

Back view of the wing

This is a piece of the Challenger shuttle that exploded in 1986.
It's in the memorial area for the shuttles.

This one is hard to look at. What were they thinking when this started to happen? The astronauts were right behind the frames of the front windows of the Columbia shuttle when it came apart over Texas on February 1, 2003. I remember watching the news interruption while eating breakfast that morning. Wreckage was scattered over a wide area of Texas.

One wall of the memorial area for the two shuttles

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