April 17th, 2012
01:10 PM ET

Space Shuttle Discovery arrives in Washington

Space Shuttle Discovery landed at Dulles International Airport outside Washington Tuesday after a series of nostalgic fly-bys on the back of a NASA Boeing 747, bringing whoops of pride and tears to the eyes of space fans and astronauts alike.

The 747's flight crew popped a hatch atop the aircraft and waved an American flag as it taxied off the runway.

The flight - the last time Discovery would be aloft - took it from Florida's Kennedy Space Center to the Washington area, where it will spend retirement as a museum piece at an annex to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia, near Dulles.

The shuttle will be removed from the specially modified 747 and star as the guest of honor at a four-day celebration punctuated by a ceremony Thursday formally welcoming Discovery to the Smithsonian collection.

Space Shuttle Enterprise, which has been on display at the museum since 1985, will be moved to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.

"It's a very emotional experience, and I'm sorry this nation is out of the space exploration business for a while," Discovery veteran astronaut Joseph Allen said.

As it left Florida at first light, the shuttle made a pass over launch pad 39A - the site of all the manned Apollo launches as well as the first 24 shuttle launches. The symbolic salute to the nation's space program was followed by a flight down the beach and over the space center's visitor complex before heading north.

Some families camped in the space center parking lot for a couple of hours to view the shuttle as it flew by. Cheers erupted when it did.

Over Washington, the shuttle circled the National Mall three times, prompting repeated cheers from onlookers, before heading to Dulles.

Crowds also watched the shuttle fly past the Pentagon, where service members from privates to admirals and generals poured outside to watch.

People snapped pictures, while drivers on nearby roads slowed to watch the spectacle and honk their horns in salute.

Discovery is the oldest of the three remaining orbiters from a shuttle era that officially began on April 12, 1981, with the launch of the shuttle Columbia.

Discovery - named after one of the ships used by British explorer James Cook when he traveled to Hawaii, Alaska and Canada in the 1770s - carried 252 people and the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit during its career.

It was also the first to return to space flight following the loss of the shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

NASA retired Discovery after it traveled 148 million miles.

Its last commander, Steve Lindsey, and five others who flew on mission 133 in February, 2011, came out to say goodbye.

"Bittersweet is an overused word, but it is sad," Lindsey said.

With every step toward retirement, the shuttle fleet becomes more a part of history. In 30 years of flying, there were grand accomplishments and heart-wrenching tragedies. A space flying machine with wings, it was like nothing ever built.

But dwelling in that past would be a mistake, Lindsey said.

"We've got to move on; we've got to make sure that spaceflight doesn't die in this nation," he said. "We still have (the) space station going, but if we don't get ourselves heavy lift, get going with exploration or part of what I'm working on - the commercial program - then we risk losing this as a nation, and I don't want to do that."

In some ways, the past is meeting the future. Just a few miles to the south at Cape Canaveral, Space X is in its final preparations to launch its Dragon spacecraft. It is a hugely crucial test scheduled for the end of April. Space X hopes to be the first commercial company to rendezvous and then berth with the International Space Station.

Next year, Space X plans to start ferrying cargo to the station and in four years, U.S. astronauts.

Alvin Drew, a mission specialist on Discovery, said these companies vying to pick up where the shuttle left off are taking a leap of faith.

"These guys who run the commercial companies will tell you with the money, they could have been there in 2015 if the money was there," Drew said. "You tie yourself to government funding, you are making a tough deal, because there's no guarantee the succeeding administrations or congresses are going to continue your funding."

Commercial companies say their new vehicles will be many times safer than the shuttles. It has to be that way now, Drew said.

"We had bigger budgets and a bigger tolerance for failure and loss of life back in the '60s and early '70s than we have in this particular generation," Drew said. "So the shuttle was built for that generation of explorers, and I'm not sure it fit well in our current society or current culture. The risks you would take for the shuttle, I think, are higher than most people are willing to accept in 2012."

The other two surviving shuttles are also destined for display.

Endeavour will head to the California Science Center in Los Angeles by the end of the year. Atlantis will take up permanent residence at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, a final exclamation point to the end of an era of space exploration.

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to this report.

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Filed under: On Earth
soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. kevin

    I missed the flybys downtown by about 30 minutes. I didn't even know they were going to do those. NOOOOOO!!!!!! No pre-announcement or anything?

    April 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Bee

      It was announced yesterday and instructions were given about best viewing sites.

      April 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • SirDaBasher

      That was so cute , the piggy back ride

      April 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  2. erich2112x

    Will we be able to sit in it over at the visitors complex?

    April 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • avoiceinmyhead

      No. No touchy!

      April 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  3. nonnews

    Welcome home old girl.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Ryan

      I like the fact they did not restore the outside of the aircraft, it shows just how many miles she had flown, and all that she took on leaving and re-entering the atmosphere.

      April 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  4. Victor Martin

    While its sad to see the end of an era, the truth is that manned spaceflight is astronomically(no pun intended) expensive, highly risky and for the most part unnecessary. It costs roughly $10,000 per pound to put something into orbit. Sending robots instead of people not only reduces risk, it saves incredible amounts of money because manned flight requires air, food, water, etc and needs to be insulated from space/radiation.

    While robots aren't nearly as glamorous as astronauts, it simply makes a lot more sense economically. Any future manned exploration will undoubtedly need to be international effort, because it simply isn't feasible for a single nation to send people any further than the moon.

    If we aren't willing/going to spend more money on NASA, I'd rather they focused their very limited funds on more tangible efforts such as robotic exploration of the outer solar system or development of a space elevator, than continue sending people into low earth orbit.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • EMM

      I'd rather they spent every penny of my tax dollar on missions to the Moon and Mars than on the current pork-barrel projects or needless wars to obtain outmoded fuels. The human race needs to get off this planet, needs its explorers and needs to expand to settlements on other planets. The money spent is an investment in the future, not a pointless dead end like Iraq and Afghanistan.

      April 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • Victor Martin

        I agree with changing our countries spending priorities, but this is the world we live in, and judging by the uselessness of congress nothing will be changing soon. But sending people to Mars will cost tens of billions of dollars. And when they get there, there is no indication they will find anything more than lifeless rocks. So while it would be great to be able to say "been there, done that", there isn't much tangible return on that investment.

        So why not send robots deeper into space to see things that really could be different from what we're used to seeing in this corner of the solar system and could potentially open up new avenues of research. Or on making space a profitable enterprise, because if we really want to become a space-fairing civilization in the future, its going to have to make economic sense to do so.

        April 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Kevin

      The shuttle is gone but what about an "atta boy" to that Boeing 747, another real marvel of american engineering.

      April 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
      • Joi Gibson

        @Kevin,

        So true. I have always been fascinated at how they put the shuttle atop a 747 and then they both fly away into the wild blue yonder. It is a sight to behold.

        April 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • John Burch

      Space elevators are not as simple as you think. Even going vertically @ 100mph (very unlikely) you will spend 2 weeks in the Van Allen belts, Certain death for any passengers even if the technology worrked

      April 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • Victor Martin

        First things first, develop the tether. And then if passenger travel can't be made sufficiently safe with shielding, which isn't clear, it would still be a much cheaper way to send heavy freight into orbit which would allow the construction of larger, more complicated structures/ships in space. But I think once we get to the point where we can develop sufficiently long and pure nano tubes, shielding the capsule to protect passengers won't be overly difficult. Even important cargo, such as food and water can be used as effective radiation shielding.

        April 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  5. Peter Grenader

    Cool vid, considering the entire US space program is a holographic deception that actually never occurred. Whoops... gotta go... got Bigfoot on the phone.

    just kiddin'......

    April 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  6. Gary

    Watched it land. It was a very proud, neat, teary moment. Sad to see that its flying days have ended.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  7. jem

    I don't think that anymore, having read in "Space Chronicles" (Norton), a recently published collection of articles by astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, that only 4% of the U.S. budget during the 1960s went toward meeting President John F. Kennedy's goal of landing men on the moon before 1970. He also writes that even with the shuttle program in place, along with all those satellite repair missions, the $100 million operating budget for NASA represents six years of the agency's total funding and that said funding amounts to "one half of one percent of [a U.S. citizen's] tax bill."

    April 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Josh

      "that only 4% of the U.S. budget"

      That's a lot of money. Almost as much as Congress spends on its afternoon pastry.

      April 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  8. ADIFF

    Poignant reminder of the days when the United States used to have a Space Program..... Not a lot of credit to the current administration that they've let that disappear...but even less to the Congress for frittering away the legacy and the least to NASA and its smarmy 'popularity contest' Uncle Sugar suck up approach to everything.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • RonPaul4prez

      @ADIFF, you may want to check your facts. The current administration didn't bring about the demise of our space nation, that was piggy backed on GWB's term. He announced the end of the shuttle program, and set an extremely loose moon mission in its place that was plagued with budget overrun's and feasibility issues(it was also practically the same thing we had done in the 1960's... no real innovation), so it was scrapped by the current admin. Fact is, if a sustainable model for the future was put in place, it would have still been going.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
      • Frangible

        I like how going to the moon now is something unscientific that man cannot achieve.

        April 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
      • ADIFF

        Deserved or not by the rule they get all the blame. Sorry, but that's the way it works. Too bad. (PS they deserve it, for what it's worth, regardless others having done their part too.)

        April 18, 2012 at 3:33 am |
    • NewMexico720

      You're a genuine stupid person. NASA is alive and well you moron. Come to New Mexico and see how active NASA is here as well as in California. Just cause the Shuttle is not in Florida anymore doesn't mean that NASA is all gone. You're such a loser. OBAMA 2012.

      April 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
      • ADIFF

        If you weren't a total loser yourself you wouldn't be buried in that 3rd World trash heap called Las Cruces....and stranded at WSTF.

        NASA has always been part of the problem, not part of the solution.

        Enjoy!

        April 18, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  9. Bill

    Are you kidding me!!! A 45 minute fly over for show, as huge waste of tax payers dollars. It is bad enough how many people lost ther jobs but come on, a waste of fuel and cash. Again government wasting my dollars!!!!!

    April 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Busted

      Take your pills

      April 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Erik

      You're an i d i o t bill. They are building up publicity for the shuttle exhibit at the Smithsonian. This will bring an influx of tourists to town. Do you know how many people in this country were glued to their TV? or left the house to see the flight? Think of all the television views, advertising, money spent on Gas, food, nearby hotels? If anything, this stimulated the economy. You sir are a waste of Tax payer dollars.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Mark

      Small minded sentiments. It was a great way to remind the American people of our accomplishments and to always shoot for the moon.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Javier

      SETTLE DOWN FRANCIS...........

      April 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  10. ADIFF

    A

    April 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • DanR.

      Good. Now nobody can see Uranus. I was tired of seeing it.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  11. Pete

    I spent many happy hours training on and in Discovery. It is and was a great machine. NASA started and stopped three Shuttle replacement programs and spent billions in the process. Too much oversight from congress. Hope the commerical space people are successful where the NASA civil service and contractors where not. The spinoff benefits of the Shuttle program exceeded the high costs. You can't cry about the end of the program and then say you want less government spending. Ask why one of the three replacement programs didn't produce a flight vehicle.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  12. jj

    To the poster who blamed Obama for defunding NASA, you can also blame Nixon, who broke up many programs and many engineering teams. Reagan did the same. They all did it, when the country needed money. Meanwhile, the military is doing fine...

    April 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Andy

      The Marine Corps is running birds that have been in the inventory since the 60s.... Running Amphibious Assault Vehicles from the same era... Oh yea, I forgot.... that's the MARINES... Anything that can "Escape Velocity" and essentially travel at roughly 25,000mph is something awe inspiring.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
      • midranger

        Ooh Rah!!!!!

        April 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  13. Sostooooopid

    Thats how baby planes are made.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  14. davetharave

    These magnificent vehicles were retired too soon. At the very least they should have used all the best parts from the three to create one 'practically new' shuttle which could have easily continued flying for another 10 years, and that would have still left 2 for retirement. There would have been no shortage of astronauts volunteering to fly on them into outer space, and now we have lost the best way to move large payloads into orbit.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • DanR.

      Must be the insurgents in our own government! Who's unpatriotic now eh?
      That's right, get rid of the most reliable space vehicle on earth, shows just how smart our politicians really are!

      April 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • davetharave

      'smart' and 'politicians' are mutually exclusive terms

      April 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  15. palintwit

    Sarah Palin is always the easiest person to spot during a meteor shower. She's the one carrying an umbrella.

    April 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • davetharave

      LOL

      April 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Taceva

    The only thing that is constant is CHANGE. get use to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  17. Noe

    Im in Chantilly and saw the fly-by from real close! It was pretty awesome!!

    April 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Tian Ti

      Awesome ! And many thanks to the pilots who gave her a piggyback.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  18. Spacecadet

    The space shuttle is and should remain a symbol of our national shame! What a waste! There was never any reason for manned space flight. The minds of great people were wasted on this folly. Good riddance!

    April 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • JBC

      You, my friend, are an idiot.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • ScottN

      Ah yes, limited minds at work. Suborbital manned flight was developed by the military to spy on the Russians (and others). Then we needed to keep up with the Russians, again for military and propaganda reason. Once we decided we needed space flight for military reasons, we needed military pilots up there since the technology did not exist to control it from the ground. Then the pubic got on board and civilian/research reasons were added in 60s and 70s. The space shuttle showed by repairing the the botched mirror on Hubble and upgrading it made actual sense to have people at the controls. Let's also remember the internet you are using now was started by the Department of Defense research, then University research then corporations that made it public.
      I'll concede the reasons for manned exploration right now are less because of technology. Of course, maybe you think that if man was meant to fly god would have given us wings and there was no reason to sail a ship to far away from land for fear of falling off the earth?

      April 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Voig Nederlander

      I would ordinarily answer this with some kind of snide comment, but in this case I am literally stunned into silence. The ignorance on display in that comment is breathtaking.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Dean

      Moron much?

      April 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Mike in Nj

      As others have said, the shame is yours.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • dane

      Lol, don't feed the troll.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Snacklefish

      It's amazing when mouth-breathers actually have enough time and mindpower to post comments here.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  19. Leucadia Bob

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPYTPUOCGGc&w=640&h=390]

    April 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  20. A caring Canadian

    This is a sad day. The world leader in space exploration will have to wait 4-5 years to fly again. It has been wonderful what these now old shuttles have done. Let us as humans, never lose the dreams that, even through dangers and fears drive us to be fully human. For the moment, the dream we have shared seems a bit lost, but it must rise again from the ashes of a bit of a market correction and a temporary loss of the ability to dream big. I long to see man on the moon again. Perhaps I am too old to see man walk on Mars, but at 75, maybe not. The USA and Canada have together done so much in space. Never stop dreaming because "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Bible)

    April 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • DB

      The Oama administration will alwasys be known as the Administration that took America out of the Space exploration mode. It will either be another 6 months or 4 years and 6 months before this nation is allowed to forge ahead into the Space related exloration business. People have no idea what NASA did for this country. With out NASA the transister would not have come around so soon, your calculators, electronic watches, TV's, GPS's, VCR's, fancy cars, and all the other electronic geewhiz stuff would have had to wait a lot longer to get. We owe NASA and all those who lost their lives with NASA a greatful thankyou from us all.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
      • KMDAB

        So, even thought it was Bush who originally cut the funding for the shuttle program....it is Obama's fault. Will wonders never cease....?

        April 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
      • TAK

        I appreciate your enthusiasm for NASA but get your facts straight. The transistor was invented at Bell Labs in 1947. Twelve years before NASA was formed. And, I grow tired of repeating this to all the troglodytes, the shuttle program was cancelled during the Bush administration.

        April 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • John T

        You should learn a little about a subject before you speak. G.W. Bush canceled the Shuttle program on Jan 14, 2004. Obama ended the constellation program, which was supposed to be the follow on to the shuttle program that bush announced during the same speech. That program was NEVER funded properly by congress and NASA was running it on a shoestring budget and was many years behind schedule as a result.

        April 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
      • Victor Martin

        Stop making this into a Republican vs. Democrat thing. The shuttle program has been scheduled for retirement for years. The successor, initially called Orion and now Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, is in development.

        While its sad to see the end of an era, the truth is that manned spaceflight is astronomically(no pun intended) expensive, highly risky and for the most part unnecessary. It costs roughly $10,000 per pound to put something into orbit. Sending robots instead of people not only reduces risk, it saves incredible amounts of money, because manned flight requires air, food, water, etc and needs to be insulated from space/radiation.

        While robots aren't nearly as glamorous as astronauts, it simply makes a lot more sense economically. Any future manned exploration will undoubtedly need to be international effort, because it simply isn't feasible for a single nation to send people any further than the moon.

        April 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  21. Tim Moore

    Ah man it's all dirty! They could at least washed it first! :-D

    April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • rstlne

      Most people disagree with you on that. Discovery should show it's wear and tear proudly!

      April 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • TAK

      I know that was tongue in cheek but the Smithsonian asked NASA to not clean it up, so it would look as it did upon returning to Earth.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • Tim Moore

        Bingo, only joking...

        April 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • Dan

        Thanks.. I was wondering about that too. Can't wait to go see the exhibit when it opens.

        April 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  22. rad666

    Why doesn't an airline get one of those shuttles and place it in top of a jumbo jet and charge for "astronaut class"????????

    April 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • ScottN

      While that sounds ridiculous I bet Richard Branson is wondering why he didn't think of it first....

      April 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  23. Russ

    Everything has to end sometime, so it is fitting that it ended this way and that the Discovery will be in the Air and Space Museum for all to appreciate. Now, the country has to get on with the next phase of space exploration. I have faith that SpaceX is up to the task of commercialization ,and at the same time, NASA will achieve amazing things with robotic vehicles.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  24. WillGill

    Back in '84 when the flew the Shuttle into Brookley Field to be barged to New Orleans for the World's Fair, the Shuttle was to make a pass over Mobile.

    Accordingly, I was ensconced on my back porch with an appropriate drink at the appointed time, hoping for a glimpse. I heard the roar of the engines but could see nothing. Then from behind the trees on the lot next to me it appeared and my jaw dropped. It came in low and slow and to this day is one of the most awe inspiring sights I've ever seen. Truly something we should be proud of!

    April 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Mike in Nj

      I hope that drink was Tang! ;)

      April 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  25. Freddo

    "...We had bigger budgets and a bigger tolerance for failure and loss of life back in the '60s and early '70s than we have in this particular generation."

    Hardly. When the crew of Apollo 1 died, there were serious concerns about the willingness of Americans to tolerate such a public loss of life. I saw less concern for the future of space travel with the deaths of the 2 shuttle crews than around Apollo 1.

    The reality is, expanding into space won't become commercialized until it's safe enough and "cheap" enough. Or when the rerwards outweigh the risks.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • jj

      And we've been wasting lives in the desert for almost a decade now, and this generation hasn't complained much.
      We always talk about 'space exploration', but NASA has always been about military projects. Especially now. We've had that new, unmanned shuttle aloft for months now, and no one is even allowed to ask about it. It's likely a missile platform.
      Meanwhile, we have to rely on ancient Russian rockets to get us to the ISS.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  26. Ted Ward

    Thank you, CNN, for the great TV coverage of the Washington, D.C. flyover and landing this morning! It was awe- inspiring to see this magnificent, moving, and historic event. I had seen Discovery lift off on STS 133 at KSC and seeing it arrive safely at Dulles after all its incredible voyages was really cool. Discovery's successful completion of its immense mission is a huge technical, scientific, and human accomplishment ! Go Discovery !

    April 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  27. Paul Willson

    In a time of restraint museums are a luxury that we caqnh no longer afforde. Sell t5he shuttle make some money
    NO MORE FREE GIFGTS Also CLOSE NASA en d the space program put the money into needed things not these prestige monuments tgo nothing but mans vanityh

    April 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • marragor

      Could not disagree more.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
      • challer9

        Well put. I couldn't agree with you disagreeing more.

        April 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • challer9

      You're an idiot. Seriously, close museams and monuments? Great idea, let's close the Holocaust Museam as well that way we can forget that 6 million people were slaughtered for no other reason than prejudice. It'll be like it never happened.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
      • ronniq

        here we go. We are talking about NASA/space shuttle and somehow you bring in the Holocaust. Get real man.

        April 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • John

      You should just decide all foreign and domestic policy! I'm writing your name in for POTUS this year not that GD Obaaama. No but seriously, I'm assuming you are a largely undereducated individual, on those grounds, you should keep your comments at a minimum. But alas, this is America, and you have the right to be wrong.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • PushingBack

      We could sell it but it wouldn't clear enough cash to fix your educational problems.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bob

      Why don't we just get rid of schools while we are at it. They are the biggest line budget on Counties expenses. Then dump the federal government (part of it really wouldn't be a bad idea) and let everyone take care of themselves. Along with the utility companies...clean water and sewage disposal are over rated. Maybe you should just go live in the woods.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Steph

      Musuems a thing of the past-REALLY! We must continue to try and learn from our history. With the level of education falling, at least the museums will continue to bring true history and culture to our children who are being denied it in our schools. Our daughter was blessed enough to attend space camp and has never forgotten it. She learned a great respect for our universe. I remember when the first space ship went up. It brought tears to my eyes and it did so today as it landed at Dulles. I too, agree that Houston should have had one of the shuttles!!

      April 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Steph

      Ps Paul, learn to spell

      April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • JeramieH

      Sell the shuttle to who? It doesn't fly by itself.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • jj

      Yeah, let's sell it to some super-rich A-H. Trickle-down, indeed! Or maybe someone in Saudi or China? Who wouldn't want the pride of America sitting in their back yard.

      April 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Jdubb

      Sell the shuttle and make some money? You're such a ball bag. And who said this is a time of restraint? I don't see any restraint on the amount of money its going to take to pay for that ridiculous healthcare plan thats being rammed down the throats of the American people. There's no restraining the GSA from spending $800k to party in Vegas for a week, all while making home videos joking about how they can waste more of your money. There's no restraint on investing hundreds of millions of dollars in these alternative energy companies only so they can go belly up. And you want to talk about no more free gifts. Maybe we can take the money we saved from slashing the NASA budget and spend it on welfare for undeserving people, endless unemployment benefits to those that aren't even interested in working, and the many other extremely wasteful gov't programs that add to the limitless nat'l deficit. NASA and what they have accomplished are a symbol of national pride, and something that no other country on earth has been able to do. Instead of trashing the space program, maybe you should consider what it has done in terms of its contribution to mankind. From everyday technology that you take for granted, to medical, to biological, to gaining the understanding of why your planet exists as it does. From the mechanic that turned a wrench, to the men that walked on the moon, to the people that piloted the most complex machine ever built. These people dared to dream. And they fulfilled those dreams. They accomplished a level success that will forever stand the test of time. A success that unfortunately for you, your pathetic life will pale in comparison to.

      April 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  28. woolfland

    Completely agree with Midland......people need to spend some time reading about all the technological advances created, including the medical field, because of space exploration. I don;t know about anyone else, but I sure believe having UV protective glasses, heart monitors, fire-resistant materials, etc. are well-worth the cost of a space program NASA is at work on new vehicles to travel beyond low-Earth orbit, but it sure would have made sense of our government to keep at least one shuttle flying for ISS missions. The shuttles may be 30 years old, but they were designed to travel a lot more than they have. It is imperative that the US remain the leader in space exploration, if anything, for our safety, for anything else, continued advances in medicine, health, science, technology and engineering.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • TAK

      I mostly agree with you but this argument for keeping one shuttle flying until a replacement is ready doesn't really make sense. The shuttle program cost a couple billion dollars a year to operate. That was mostly a fixed cost to pay salaries and maintain the needed infrastructure. It was the same whether you had one shuttle fly one mission per year, or three shuttles flying 10 missions per year. The per flight costs we actually very little; fuel, repairs, payloads, that sort of thing. But the fixed infrastructure costs were the killer. You simply would save much money by reducing the number of flights.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
      • vbscript2

        Well, probably the main reason that we didn't plan to keep even one shuttle flying was that we had a replacement shechuled to be coming online within the next couple of years... then Obama cancelled it with no replacement.

        April 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  29. Geest

    Sad to see the end of the Shuttle program, but lets be honest here. The Shuttle never lived up to its billing as a regularly reusable space vehicle, was mired in debt and the only attention it ever got from all the people bemoaning its demise and the balance of the US public was when something went wrong.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  30. matt in nw

    I know they were getting old....but cant help feeling we are losing big here. NASA is the one government agency that we should be expanding, If we let commercial companies run the show we ll go nowhere im afraid.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • marragor

      Agree

      April 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Adam

      Luckily we aren't letting commercial companies run the show. They are partnering with NASA to do flights of cargo and people to the ISS and other low-earth orbit stuff. NASA is tackling Lunar and Martian manned missions. Allowing industry to take over a well established part of the game frees NASA to focus on pushing forward again. Though Congress seems hell-bent on curbing NASAs budget. Let your representatives know that you support NASA and want it to be properly and fully funded and expanded even. NASA is the one agency that gives huge returns on investment. The list of products and spinoffs from NASA is endless and has benefited every single one of us. Not a day goes by that you don't touch something NASA has had a hand in. Funding NASA is funding our growth, leadership and pride as a nation. Period.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
      • matt in nw

        Truely:)) i hope it goes as planned. NASA has paid off in many many ways .... knowledge ...products (for those that question the value)

        and then theres the priceless...... those that are making it all happen carry the dreams of the rest of us- Amazing what awaits us out there:)

        April 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  31. Mr Mike

    what a disaster.. absolute disaster.
    FACT – What Nasa cost was less than 1% of the budget
    FACT – Space exploration is an investment which has returned multiples in dividends..

    I'm really starting to dislike Libs AND Cons..

    April 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • jj

      I once read more money was spent air conditioning the 'green zone' in Iraq than on the whole space agency!

      April 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  32. palintwit

    Physicists at the prestigous Sarah Palin University are currently working on the next generation shuttle. It will be called the "Sub-Orbital Teabagger Space Trailer" or SOTST for short.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  33. Harsha

    I was stuck in traffic when I saw this today. I could not believe my eyes... beautiful sight

    April 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  34. Peter Walukiewicz

    This is a sad day for the United States of America. We now pay the Russians $51 million dollars per seat on a Soyuz rocket, to get to the ISS. President Barack Obama 'bailed out' Wall street', he could have bailed out NASA as well. After the attacks of 9/11, seeing a space shuttle launch, was a sense of pride for many who worked on the Shuttle program. The 'Space Coast' in Florida, will never be the same.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Mike

      Bail out NASA??? You can't compare the wall street bailouts with keeping a federal organization funded. funding NASA is a never ending money stream. The wall street bailout was a limited timed investment to keep the economy from going into a depression! I love the shuttle program, but truth is, it has been FAR FAR more expensive than it was planned. There was never a savings for reuse. NASA would be far better off using expendible rockets.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
      • Mr Mike

        so you'd rather spend trillions on wars, or about 15 billion for space exploration.

        April 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • Mark

        It would not be a bailout for NASA. It would be an investment in our immediate, yes, I said immediate future. Results of research for space flight? Cardiac pacemakers. Rechargeable batteries. Desktop and laptop computers. A variety of medicines. GPS. Improved television. And a host of other things that make our daily lives better.

        And the big one? The sheer adventure of Man reaching for the stars. A belief that some day we will walk on other planetary surfaces. A bailout? Nonsense.

        April 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Patrick

      Yo! Go back and review your timeline. President Bush began the bank bailouts. I know these annoying facts disturb those who prefer to engage in fantasy.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • chris

      I agree......When I was younger, kids wanted to grow up to become astronauts. These were true American heroes. We have no heroes anymore. Kids have crap music artists to look up to and they bury themselves in Ipads and I-touch. There is nothing to inspire our kids! Space exploration, travels to the unknown, stars, planets, the moon, we all use to look up and say someday we'll be out there. Now all thats out there is a big old space station, the "grandson" of the old skylab, and we pay a foreign country to hitch a ride!! My God, what has happened to us as a country? It was time to retire the current space shuttles, but not to have a replacement program going and basically turning all over to private enterprise to develop the next space vehicle is not really a realistic approach to space exploration. NASA didn't let us down, our government let us down by abandoning NASA and its programs. This is truly a sad day. Its like a body being carried to a funeral. Hopefully someone wakes up in time and gets NASA rolling full blast again, so not only can the dream of space exploration still be there fir us, but also so we do not loose all of those engineers to foreign countries or loose them altogether.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
      • Adam

        Absolutely true. And since Congress holds the purse strings, it's Congress we need to let know that we want NASA fully funded, expanded, made a priority. The benefits that come out of the Space Program are innumerable. Defense, medical, technology, computers, communications, nutrition, traffic safety, etc, etc, etc. There is not a field out there that has not in some way been touched by NASA.

        April 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  35. Edwin Brown

    Here's the shuttle Discovery on top of the 747 flying right over our heads about an hour and a half ago – http://youtu.be/9fUGWN0gqTA

    April 17, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  36. idy

    this halt I believe is just the end of an era , but not the end of the american people's space dream!

    April 17, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • lolol

      yeah with 16 trillion dollars of debt, your space dream ain't going anywhere.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:49 am |
      • Joe

        That's just a bunch of numbers you know. Soon enough we'll take off into warp speed and end poverty.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Chantilly

      Just saw it land at Dulles, quite the sight!

      April 17, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Nothiga

      Obama retired some space shuttles to reduce govt spending while a GOP/TP presidential candidate wants a colony in the moon.

      Talk of pathological hypocrites!

      April 17, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • Josh

        Sorry, but it was Bush, NOT Obama, who made the decision to retire the US Shuttle fleet.

        April 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  37. Tina

    It was an awesome and amazing sight!!!

    April 17, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Tracy

      I've never been to a launch, so this was my space shuttle moment. Seeing it fly over DC and being there for it, was just incredible. What a feeling to see such an important and vital piece of American history. Thanks, Discovery. Can't wait to take a ride out to Dulles later this year to see it up close.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  38. Tina

    It was an awesome, amazing site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • bencoates57

      No it wasn't. It looked like any other low-flying plane we're used in these parts. It just looked a little taller. You must be 5-year old. And a rube.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:47 am |
      • MichGuy

        and you're a tool

        April 17, 2012 at 11:56 am |
      • eggmank

        you are such a huge tool. go away

        April 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • Greg

        Get a life

        April 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • bencoates57

      No it wasn't. It looked like any other low-flying plane we're used in these parts. It just looked a little taller. You must be 5-yeasr old. And a rube.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • ScottN

      bencoates57, you seem to have a fascination with 5 year olds in your posts. Should we be alerting the authorities or is it simply the fact that you can't envision a world where people are in your way? Maybe it's people like you who are so self absorbed that we have a country where we can't agree on anything anymore?

      April 17, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  39. RANDY

    HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM !!!

    April 17, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Josh

      And Houston's problem is that it is located in Texas, and so is the person who killed the US Shuttle program, George W Bush. That's why NASA completely skipped giving any of the shuttles to Houston or Texas.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • MrHanson

      LOL! Bush killed the shuttle program. Stupid lib.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  40. ScottN

    Sad to see the shuttle go but sadder for what it symbolizes. The deal was suppose to be the government stays out of our liberties and the people would support the government to do the real big things that were good for us as Americans. Now, our government has been bought by the "me" generation, the people care only about the size of their SUV, house and money they can stash in their pockets. I would say it was in pursuit of the almighty dollar except the dollar hasn't been almighty in a long time. Both sides have broken up the country. Education in science and technology is falling fast as we are out of the top 20 in both now. I'm glad I was around over the 50 years and saw how these things lift up a country and provide technology for everyone, not just the people who can buy it and sell it for a profit. Hopefully history will see this as when America bottomed out. It looks more like that we are accelerating the decline as selfish little children who can't figure out how to play nice and think more about the "us" in America anymore.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  41. bencoates57

    You people make me sick, You disrupted traffic on the 14 St Bridge by stopping, getting out of your car and sitting in wait for the shuttle. I leaned on my horn the whole time and other vehicles behind me joined in, causing many of you to cup you ears, grimace, and yell back at me. Well, I couldn't hear you over my car horns. What are you people like 5 years old. You couldn't care less about the shuttle since it rolled off the assembly line in 1980. Rubes. Some people have to work and get around in this city.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • MichGuy

      and you're still a tool

      April 17, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • nice

      He has a point, an ugly way of stating it but there it is. If there was more support for such activities then programs like this would not go away but people would rather say cancel it than think about how much money goes into, which isn't that much all concidering. You will never see welfare go away and thats a bigger money sucking hole than NASA ever was or will be.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  42. midranger

    I know that I'm supposed to use this post for political statements and to whine about how the government is wasting my tax dollars etc. but do any of you aeronautical types out there know, does that big sucker take advantage of the control surfaces on the shuttle when piggy backing it like that, or is it just along for the ride?

    April 17, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • panzerman13

      The Shuttle is "along for the ride", it is fly by wire and since it is powered off and safed, no wire inputs to control surfaces are available.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • midranger

        Thank you!

        April 17, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Mike

      The control surfaces on the shuttle are locked into position. The gain is very small compared to the cost:

      Typically on an airliner control surfaces are moved by hydraulics, and the pressure comes from a pump powered by the engine. The shuttle doesn't have a jet engine, so it uses hydrazine-based auxiliary power units (APUs) during landing that only can run for a short amount of time. You would also need to tie the Shuttle's flight control computers to the 747, which is not fly-by-wire.

      The hydrazine systems have also been removed to support sending the Shuttle on public display. Hydrazine is very nasty stuff, which is why it's only used on some military and NASA air and space craft where there isn't a better alternative available.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Bianca

      The shuttle is along for the ride adding weight and drag. The aircraft cabin was stripped, mounting struts added, and the fuselage strengthened; vertical stabilizers were added to the tail to aid stability when the Orbiter was being carried. The avionics and engines were also upgraded.

      http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/FactSheets/FS-013-DFRC.html

      April 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  43. Derek

    Is all ppl going to space to who much is it to go

    April 17, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • midranger

      What???

      April 17, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • panzerman13

      "Homer no function beer well without".

      April 17, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  44. lolol

    the world is in debt. enough with these useless space missions.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • midranger

      Rather than taking time to try and explain it to you, why don't you take an hour off from complaining and whining about wasting money and look up all the technological advances made as a result of the space program. Many of which I'm sure you are using but are too stupid to realize it.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Dan I.

      Ever had a CAT scan? NASA says you're welcome.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:55 am |
      • greywolfe

        Or Dialysis, or Medical Telemetry, or water filtration. Or, ever used something made out of plastic? I could go on and on...

        April 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • Josh

        See http://spinoff.nasa.gov/

        April 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  45. Penny Nickels

    What's going to happen to the old launch pads? Are they going to museums too? Or maybe just tear them apart and sell little pieces of them on QVC?

    April 17, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • midranger

      Lot of things still being launched, the NASA Shuttle program is ending.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • hammertime

      no, they're being donated to north korea!

      April 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Adam

      The launch pads are being repurposed. SpaceX is launching from the Cape now and the SLS will be launching from there as well in the next 18 – 24 months.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  46. B1975

    The Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) was a plan for space exploration announced on January 14, 2004 by President George W. Bush.In pursuit of these goals, the Vision called for the space program to complete the International Space Station by 2010; retire the Space Shuttle by 2010; develop a new Crew Exploration Vehicle (later renamed Orion) by 2008, and conduct its first human spaceflight mission by 2014. Get your facts straight on who did what and why.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  47. Steve

    Rumor has it that Greyhound Bus Co. and Yellow Cab are submitting proposals to provide service to the International Space Station on a full time basis. Ticket/ fare prices are yet to be announced.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Penny Nickels

      Amtrak is also submitting a bid. "Railway To The Skies". Yeah.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • greywolfe

      Yeah, but do they have cool 70's era vintage vehicles like the Russian's?

      April 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  48. SkyKing

    A Crime.
    America loses in Space.
    All because of a bunch of wimps in Congress who won't lead and stand up to the Whiners and enact the taxes necessary to lead the world. Our taxes are the lowest percentage of Gross Domestic Product that they've been in over 60 years!! We're NOT 'Taxed Enough Already'. That's just plain stupid. The TEA Partiers don't love America! They're just to cheap to pay for anything more than their TV and other entertainment. Don't let them destroy what centuries of leaders have built for us.
    We need LEADERS in Congress!
    Every Representative is up for election NOW!!
    1/3 of our US Senators are up for election NOW!!
    Ask them how they voted to fund NASA, the National Aeronatics and Space Administration.
    Put LEADERS back in Congress, to actually lead our Nation and restore it to the Greatest Nation on Earth.
    VOTE!

    April 17, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • schoolsub

      Absolutely on track! We are NOT taxed enough. 1962, top tax rate was 91%. 2012, top rate is 35%.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Juan

      It starts at the top, there, dude. Just like Kennedy had the vision to go to the moon. It wasn't the congress that had that vision.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  49. Stern

    Good riddance!!!

    Trillions of dollars of tax payer's money wasted over 30 years.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • midranger

      Oh that's right, all that money would have been much better off being handed to people not deserving of it. Typical Lib response. Sooner or later you are going to run out of other peoples money!

      April 17, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Just_One

      Yeah, who needs microwaves and teflon anyway

      April 17, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Dan I.

      NASA's current budget is and has been for many many years around .5% of the total federal budget. That's POINT Five, not five.

      If it were DOUBLED to 1% of the federal budget (1 PENNY of every dollar going to NASA) the agency could do pretty much EVERYTHING it wanted. Not to mention the MASSIVE economic shot in the arm such a program would create.

      A fully funded, ambitious space program creates MILLIONS of jobs. And not just "Advanced Jobs" like scientists and engineers. After all, we need guys on the line to BUILD the stuff NASA uses. My grandfather was no engineer but he help build the lunar modules at Grumman.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • apstar

      Yeah, right, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been a great investment.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:47 am |
      • midranger

        What the heck are you talking about? What does that have to do with........ never mind, this entire thread just got a little dumber from your post!

        April 17, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Jeffrey Root

      Stern-Over 30 years the space shuttle program cost about 209 billion. Not even close to a trillion. You know, NASA gets about 0.5% of the national budget. That's about half a penny on every tax dollar we spend. Go pick on the military or the poorly regulated social programs.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • panzerman13

      And what of the trillions, upon trillions, upon trillions, upon trillions ( mind iif I use your phrase too? ) of dollars spent on the poor? What are the Spinoffs from them?

      Nothing...

      You need to look at the U.S. Budget bub and really learn something instead of re-vomiting a phrase you heard from a friend or on the Internet.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Greg

      Wasted on useless wars

      April 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  50. Penny Nickels

    Bye bye space shuttle! Now let's move on to the next step of U.S. manned space flight, the... um, er, hmmm. Just wait another 50-60 years and NASA will come up with something...

    April 17, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • danelle

      there is something wrong when the government is quick to send Americans off to war but even quicker to take away programs like the space shuttle program for exploration and research. To all those who went to space and for all those who did not make it back thank you! And know this, the fight for space travel,exploration and research has just begun,do not give up.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • rstlne

      Don't blame NASA for this debacle! Blame your Congress and Presidents Bush and Obama. Blame the current climate of "money/greed is all that matters" in this country.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Adam

      They have already come up with something. It's called the SLS and the Orion Capsule. Testing has been under way for some time on the Orion and the SLS is being built. It is capable of lunar, asteroidal and martian missions. It has been delayed and halted and restarted thanks to Congress. So if you really want to blame someone, it's Congress who mandated the stop of the Shuttle program, it's Congress who won't properly fund NASA. The problem is Congress not understanding the massive payout for every dollar spent on NASA. The return on investment is mind boggling. The jobs created range from manufacturing to cutting edge science. The technologies created aid everyone here on Earth. Better farm techniques, pollution controls, traffic safety, mattresses, telecommunications, weather, gps, miniturization of components (cell phones), etc, etc. The list is endless. NASA has touched every one of your lives in ways you can't even begin to imagine. Google for NASA Spinoffs and do some reading and then tell me the space program isn't important people. Then, when you're good and angry, go tell Congress to do their job and support this country.

      April 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  51. j0nx

    Sad day for this once great country. Now we are just a nation of financial and moral grifters, petty thugs and unenthused EBT collectors.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • karnas

      AMEN...chief thug obama leading the way

      April 17, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  52. R. Wright

    In the words of this week’s strongly worded letter from 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts, publicizing the trial-and-error process in this way does “damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.” When any respected organization takes “an extreme position” and includes “unproven and unsupported remarks” in its public utterances, it is gambling recklessly with fate — and the stakes in this gamble, it turns out, have often been described by Hansen in terms rather unsuitable for the head of a government agency, especially when the topic is as vast and uncharted as climate science. Yet, in 2006, Hansen called climate change “a moral issue on a par with slavery,” labeled coal trains “death trains,” and asserted that they would be “no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.” Continuing the drama, Hansen was arrested last summer outside the White House for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. It is unsurprising that many at NASA have criticized “ the GISS leadership” for overconfident pronouncements when, they point out, “the science is NOT settled.” National Review.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Dan I.

      How about a little honesty hmmm? That letter was about climate science, it was put out by a group called "Trees Need Carbon" that argues that MORE CO2 emissions are a good thing. It WAS signed by 49 former scientists...but here's the kicker...NOT A SINGLE CLIMATE SCIENTIST.

      I'm sorry but "scientist" is a very VERY broad discipline. But a Cosmologist or mechanical engineer really has NO expertise to talk about CLIMATE science.

      That's like if a astrophysicist told you that you should get chemo because "Hey, I'm a Doctor."

      April 17, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  53. svg

    CNN announcers sound annoyed that the shuttle stayed up in the air for so long. Stop being party poopers!

    April 17, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Don H

      holy cow CNN, I know your announcers like the sound of their own voices but couldn't they shut up long enough for us to hear the cheering? get your collective egos out of the way for once, like that would happen

      April 17, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  54. semper fi

    Thank you to all who were involved in our Space Shuttle journey. From my Father in Law who built the fuel tubes here in Huntington Beach California to the men and women who gave their lives to this program...........We Salute You!

    April 17, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • ihatearrogance

      Hear hear! Now lets move on to bigger and better things so that our grandchildren can say the same about us in 50 years!

      April 17, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • NKBL

      My dad worked on the Apollo mission in the 60s and 70s. I cheer for all the people that were involved in the space program. I hope we don't become a nation of non-dreamers.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • BUHARI

      Always look for contributors from Africa

      April 17, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  55. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Who really gives a crap! Nobody belongs in space except Captain Kirk and his starship! Everybody else is a wannabe nut who feels outer space will be conquered someday! Nuts galore abound in modern space science!

    April 17, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • ChrisVC

      The only one that sounds like a nut ... is you.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • txgulfwarvet

      You sound just like those people that swore we did not go to the moon! I am sure that EVEN YOUR life has been made better by the space program and the research spawned by it. If you say no, then just Google some of the many things we use EVERY day that came from the program.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • ckd

      Ahh ignorance at its finest.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  56. rstlne

    Right now the Shuttle Discovery is being flown around Washington D.C., saluting the very people who have destroyed America's space program and who are now trying to destroy all scientific research in the United States. I find this to be yet another insult to all Americans who care about scientific research and discovery.

    Welcome to the United States – well on our way to becoming a third-world oligarchy where nothing matters but greed. Sad day indeed!

    April 17, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • ihatearrogance

      The space program was not destroyed. The shuttle was beautiful and did its job, but it was getting very old and very expensive. NASA has moved money from the shuttle program to other programs involving deeper space missions. NASA is developing new rockets to reach further (Mars) with man inside. Until then, they're paying Russians and SpaceX to carry things up to the ISS.

      The space program is far from dead. Money has not been cut to NASA. Pick up a book and put down the Pabst Blue Ribbon.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • rstlne

        Apparently you have not been listening to the Republicans, who have very publicly stated that scientists are perpetrating a hoax on the world with their bogus science. Apparently you are not aware that Republicans do not want to fund any science any longer, period.

        Here is a recent quote regarding cuts to NASA funding: "NASA plans to drop nearly $310 million from the budget for its Planetary Science division in 2013, a 20 percent cut that affects future missions to Mars, lunar science, and the study of the outer planets.

        The cuts are part of a $17.7 billion budget request NASA unveiled Monday a mere 0.3 percent cut from the 17.8 billion Congress approved in November for 2012. But it represents a 5 percent cut from the $18.7 billion President Barack Obama penciled in for 2013 in the five-year budget he sent to Congress this time last year.

        And it leaves NASA funded at its lowest level in four years, forcing the space agency to juggle priorities and "devastating planetary science," said Bill Nye, CEO of space exploration group The Planetary Society."

        FYI, I do not drink PBR, and do not need any advice from you on my drinking habits; perhaps I should advise you on your reading habits...

        April 17, 2012 at 11:13 am |
      • ihatearrogance

        Of course Republicans don't want to fund science, it doesn't put nearly the same amount of money in their pockets.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • karnas

      SAD day thanks to the rag head in office US was and leader in science and space now we are just a footnote....thanks ooo-bammm-me

      April 17, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • ihatearrogance

        As of 2011, the budgets of each nation's space program:

        United States: $17.7 billion
        European Space Agency: $5.43 billion
        Russia: $3.8 billion
        China: $1.3 billion

        The United States is still the leader. Keep on with the arrogance and racism though, that's cool bro.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:05 am |
      • karnas

        WELL i hate people that think they are always right and with that said the rag head gov has No plans until a real american takes us there.....back to a world leader...

        April 17, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  57. Aaron

    I still think it's BS that Washington DC can get one but not Houston.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • ihatearrogance

      Houston has Space Shuttle Adventure at the Johnson Space Center. I walked through it last month.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • TAK

      You don't think the NATIONAL Air & SPACE Museum should get a Space Shuttle??? By definition, it is where historical space artifacts should go.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Mikey

      Houston also has one of only three Saturn V's in existence. Gigantic vehicles three times the size of the shuttle. Washington, even though it helped pay for them – and the shuttles – doesn't have one of those. New York doesn't have a Saturn V either, for those complaining about the Big Apple getting the Enterprise.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Greg

      You don't deserve one... your from Tex Ass

      April 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  58. Cutting Taxes No Space Money

    WAKE UP POSTERS...... We have a republican controlled congress and no taxes are allowed even though our country is up to its eyeballs in debt.

    So no funds available means cutting space and military.

    So Quit Whining and Maybe Descide the Top 1% Can Pay More Taxes And Programs That are Nice To Have Can Fund. One Can't have it both ways.... unless you want to sell off Alaska or Hawaii to pay all our foreign investors off that we hocked under George JR.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Freedom524

      Give it up with the MSNBC lines....The top 1% tax, Buffett rule would only creat 412 billion in revenue = 17 days then gone with government spending. Obama's intention was never to use it to reduce debt. How about the 40% that do not pay taxes pay their fair share. The upper 1% pays 39% of all taxes already. Check the facts!

      April 17, 2012 at 10:43 am |
      • rstlne

        The 40% you refer to as "not paying their fair share" are the poorest of the poor and those working families who can take deductions for their home and each child. Are you suggesting that we get rid of the deductions for our homes and children? I doubt that one will go very far. Or are you suggesting that we just shoot all of the poor people who have no income and therefore cannot pay federal taxes?

        Strange how the sanctimony of the wealthy extends only to the poor, and not to themselves...

        April 17, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • Get over it

        How much more do you want to blame Republicans and the 1% for the nation's issues? Here's an idea, if the 40% would stop having so many kids maybe they wouldn't need as many deductions on their taxes. There are plenty of lazy sob's in our country right now just riding the system. LAZY!

        April 17, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • rstlne

        @ Get Over It – If you want poor people to have fewer children, a good place to start is to encourage the GOP to stop blocking efforts to provide them with free or affordable birth control!

        April 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • panderexpress

        You assume, erroneously, that the 40% that do not pay taxes are all low income people. In 2009, more than 20,000 filers making more than $200,000 a year — 1,470 of whom had adjusted gross income of more than $1 million — owed no income tax.

        April 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • KTrostel

      So GWBush is the only reason we have a $15.2T national debt? Last I checked, when GWB left office the debt was still below $10T (not that this is a good thing). Take your blinders off and stop drinking the coolaid – OUR ENTIRE GOVERNMENT is responsible for this. That includes your precious president! Until you can grow up and realize the problem is systemic not "party line" we can never hope to fix it.

      You love to lambast the 1% but our current administration's "CFO" cannot file his taxes correctly (sure it was just a mistake). What a joke. And why don't we hear about Nancy Peloci and her $185M earned while in congress. Where is her tax form?

      April 17, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • Freedom524

        KTrostel...Go easy with the facts, you will be called a racist.

        April 17, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  59. bman

    This is a shame, they should have been mothballed up in space. 100 years from now they could be installed in a space museum up in high earth orbit. Once again short sighted space program. My bets are on the Chinese being first to mars and beyond.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  60. Norasusan

    As I watching Discovery take off from Cape Canaveral this morning, tears streamed down my face because this final flight represents the death of the space program. For me it proves that America took a "giant leap" to becoming a third-rate has been like the British Empire and the once great exploring countries of Spain and Portugal. The space program is vital to our national defense, new inventions, and job creation. NASA should be building new, more efficient Saturn rockets to carry us back to the Moon and beyond. This is a disgrace.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • ihatearrogance

      THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE SPACE PROGRAM, NOT BY A LONG SHOT.

      This is merely a step forward for the space program. The shuttle was old and used up. It was only a matter of time before the next one blew up. Also, it was getting incredibly expensive to operate. The best way to create new technology was to shut the Shuttle program off and take all of that money and put it into the next project, which are deep space missions (Moon, Mars).

      Wake up people, you're making yourselves look bad.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • TAK

      Retiring the shuttles is not a disgrace. It was time to retire them. 30 years... Would you drive a 30 year old car or get on a 30 year old airliner? The disgrace, if any, is that we don't have their replacement ready. But this has all happened before. There was a 6 year gap between the last Apollo flight and the first shuttle flight and America didn't become a third world country then, so stop the hysterics. Right now we're working on private spacecraft. Now let's think about that- taxpayer money was taken away from a government agency (NASA) and redirected to support private corporations (SpaceX). In terms of policy, that sounds like a conservative's wet dream. Yet they still criticize the current President. Just proves that their criticisms are not fact or policy driven.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • greywolfe

        Sorry there, but when/if you get on an American carrier's airliner, there's a good chance that it is approaching 30 years old.

        April 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  61. Freedom524

    Obama is more worried about giving populas speeches about fairness instead of what can we do as a country to be the technological leader we once were!

    April 17, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • gastronomics

      Oboma needs to have a third hole where his noze is!

      April 17, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Long Live dumbness

      Hey Freedom,
      check the facts before listening to FOX..... Long time ago the reps decided to bankrupt the country and then they started hating a black president.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:55 am |
      • Freedom524

        Your name says it all. Once again, the race card. It is wore out!

        April 17, 2012 at 10:57 am |
      • KTrostel

        LOL typical coolaid drinker. So what was the nation debt when Obama took office? What did Obama and the left wing controlled congress (that's both houses) do to decrease the national debt? NOTHING. As a matter of fact they have increased the debt by 125% in 3 years from what Bush did in 8 years. What Bush did was horrific but call a spade a spade – The dumbocrats had 18 months to do WHATEVER they wanted (anyone remember OBAMACARE). Don't tell me they couldn't have at least attempted a fix. But they don't want that now do they. So run down to the local government office and pick up your check.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:00 am |
      • Travis

        I am by no mean supporting Obama, but I would expect him to have a defecit when it comes to a budget as the ecomony has not exactly been great in the years he has been in office. That being said, how is it that in some of the best years this country has ever seen in terms of money and growth (bubbles yes, but still money growth) in the mid 2000's there was still a budget deficit (quite large in fact). That is extremely pathetic when we cant have a balanced or excess budget when things are great, so it is impossible to expect to have a balanced budget when things are bad (you know, the times when people want help from the government).

        Sad to the see the shuttle go, but its just a step forward people,....remember all change is not bad, dont be scared of something that is new and different as often times it is an upgrade. Just think if people were so afraid to embrace changes like cell phones where we would actually be, but instead people now jump at the latest gadget.

        April 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  62. Freedom524

    There WAS a time in American history when young girls and boys looked at the Space Shuttle and said I want to do that some day. That dream was ripped away by Obama and his liberal friends in order to further their agenda of failed policies. Obama wants to ensure there is enough money to promote nationalization of all major industries and handouts for his lazy base.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • TAK

      Hey dummy. G.W. Bush cancelled the shuttle program. The current administration managed to add two more flights to the schedule.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:30 am |
      • gastronomics

        how about u taking a flight up my anus???

        April 17, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • Freedom524

        Typical liber *uck! Right to the name calling. One, always Bush's fault and Obama sure as he11 isn't doing nothing to advance the program or anything in this coutnry for that matter. Do me a favor, shut the he11 up and go back to playing XBox...the grown ups are trying to talk!

        April 17, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • Norasusan

        Tak,

        It was time for the Shuttle Program to go. What you fail to mention is that Bush wanted America to return to the Moon and beyond. Read this you stupid twit and pass it on to Nobama.

        http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/54868main_bush_trans.pdf

        April 17, 2012 at 10:35 am |
      • ihatearrogance

        Norasusan,

        We did not have the technology to go to the Moon. The fact is, the Shuttle was old and expensive. It was a waste of money to operate. The NASA budget has not been cut, only the shuttle program has been shut down. This is so we can put our money into higher technologies that will take us to the Moon and further.

        What your're talking about is the typical Bush mindset. Start two wars, increase federal budgets, and severely lower taxes. STUPID STUPID STUPID. And what we're left with is a huge hole to dig ourselves out from.

        And before you go yelling about how the deficit is larger now than it was in 2009, keep in mind that we have had to continue fighting his wars, but those are almost over. Also, Republicans filibuster every Bill that comes through the Senate that tries to kill the Bush tax cuts to the rich. Those tax cuts DID NOT WORK. Unfortunately, republicans care more about their bottom line than the welfare of the nation, so you have what we have now...nothing getting done.

        But back to the point, the NASA space program is more alive than ever. Just watch what happens in the next ten to fifteen years.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Quest

      What an idiot. Ignorance is bliss for some thick-heads.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:32 am |
      • KTrostel

        No ur the idiot (since you decended to name calling let me join in). Seems so childish doesn't it. Nope I bet it doesn't seem childish to you at all. Shame. How was your 3rd grade graduation? Sorry you missed 4th but they have cut you off at 18 YOA. But I hear you can try for your GED. Good luck! And no, getting your GED will not exempt your from your government handout. Quick I heard there is a run on Government money. Better scury down to your local office and pick up your weekly check before the 1% can no longer afford you.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • East of Eden

      Or, we're trying to build a world where everyone can have at least bread and water. I guess that is too much to ask for. If people get back on their feet, maybe we can revisit this one day.

      Kids won't be able to fathom the nuances it takes into building one of these devices if we don't improve our educational system and provide more opportunities for our youth to develop themselves out of the classroom as well.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • Freedom524

        Yeah...because daycares in high schools and no red ink and no zero policies so their feelings don't get hurt is the trick!

        April 17, 2012 at 10:36 am |
      • East of Eden

        Or, IT programs at all schools [They all have PC's] that delve into marketable fields just as Web Application, Database Design and areas of that nature.

        Teen pregnancy ran rampant through my High School and many others but I never saw any day-cares, so I'm a little foggy on that one. What are your suggestions to fix a struggling system?

        Students all over the country are struggling so I can't cherrypick one group. Kids drop out every 26 seconds [Thanks LeBron for letting us know in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters commercial]. In society where this is happening, you can bet your bottom dollar that future tax-payers are not being developed so the Space Program will still be a moot point in the future, unless we do something to change it now.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • bman

      Sorry mr. freedom for racists, the decision was made by the mentally challenged Goerge W Bush to defund the space program.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:38 am |
      • Freedom524

        What the he11 does race have to do with this? Another liberal response when they pegged with facts.

        April 17, 2012 at 10:40 am |
      • bman

        Race has to do with your mindset. Explain what you don't like about our president so badly you would lie about what he's done?

        April 17, 2012 at 10:44 am |
      • Freedom524

        I do not agree with any of his policies! He has done more to divide this country than unite it. I don't care if he was purple! Again, I understand when libs/dems are hit with facts, race is the only thing you have left.

        April 17, 2012 at 10:48 am |
      • Freedom524

        I am not lying about anything he has done! It is all facts. Take a look around you and see what is going on.

        April 17, 2012 at 10:49 am |
      • KTrostel

        Save your breath. The liberal left don't want to consider the facts. They are too happy living denial.

        Any person able to read can see when GW left office the national debt was under $10T (this is not good) and with Obama and the left controlled congress (for 18 months) the debt is now over $15T (this is much worse). Its simple math – and the left STILL CANNOT accept it.

        Its like the people that drive a Prius. They are all to happy to tell you how they are saving the world. When in reality the battery pack in a Prius takes more energy to create and then recycle than they claim to save over their lifetime.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • FoReal

      Freedom,

      Grown ups? Your name calling and writing lead me to conclude that either your a third grader or a mouth breather. Please share whatever facts you think are relevant and be honest that your opinion is just that.

      Thanks.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:48 am |
      • Freedom524

        By looking at your screen name you must have hit pause on the XBox to type this blog. If you can ready, you will see I was not the first to cast the ole name calling out there. I will do it when justified!

        April 17, 2012 at 10:51 am |
      • KTrostel

        Fo – LOL. I love it when the left complain about name calling. BTW, what did those signs lambasting GW Bush call him? Nazi, or "kill Bush", "christian terriorist pig-Bush". Where was your outrage then? Do us a favor and see how long you can hold your breath.

        April 17, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  63. gastronomics

    I still say it is time for major revolution in this country the likes of which have never occurred on this earth before. That is the ONLY way we will get this house known as the USA back in order!

    April 17, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • gastronomics

      It is time to TAKE OUT THE TRASH!

      April 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • gastronomics

      This country needs a rebirth of WORKERS and not SQUATTERS!

      April 17, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Daniel K

      I'm watching it right now on TV In school.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Norasusan

      I agree with you...oh boy, do I ever agree with you!

      April 17, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  64. Demlosers

    We can now double the income of those on the public dole. What a return on investment.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  65. wownasa

    SPACE IS THE FINAL FRONTIER... unfortunately we and the rest of the world have created an unstable economy. Democratic governance is to slow to act on solutions for anything; weather it be tax code, housing market, etc... We are a country made up of mostly middle class and lower class societies but we are governed by high upper class and rich people. This creates a conflict of interest because middle class woes are not the woes of those who are governing us. So America will remain stagnant until we are able to find some real leadership.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • supernova

      Rich ruling the poor is not "a conflict of interest." Please understand the terms you use.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  66. HeyHey

    Needed the money for your government hand outs

    April 17, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Mike

      I'm a liberal, secular Democrat (gasp) and the only government checks I ever got came from the Department of Defense.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:16 am |
      • KTrostel

        Congratulations, you're the one. Must really chap your tail that you are the only one not getting a handout (otherwise, why would you bother us with your whinning?). Now back to your knitting grandma...

        April 17, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  67. PantyRaid

    Hehe! It looks like they're doin it! You know... doing it?

    I wonder how the kids would turn out. Would they be terrorist planes, or freedom fighters??

    April 17, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • gastronomics

      They would look like chubby fat little Roll & Martin's spouting off shytt about reggggggins rights!

      April 17, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  68. bspurloc

    In just one year, the expenditure of the U.S.'s military budget is equivalent to the entire 50-year running budget of NASA combined.” ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

    April 17, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • ralph

      Yeah, it's crazy, Defense 2011, 878.5 BILLION and Health Care 858.2 BILLION.

      April 17, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • wownasa

      yep... Health Care is important and we would be spending less on it if 30% or more of the cost of Health Care didn't end up in some administrators hand and actually ended up in paying for the cost of treatment. My opinion on Military spending is, that we thought it would pay for itself in the form of more and cheap oil from the countries we liberated. Military spending was a gamble and we lost big. Seriously, we should just swallow our pride and bring the troops home, shut down all the needless military bases, and STOP trying to protect every country from every country!! The only way to have an effective "international police" is for it to be international, not 95% or 80% whatever the number is, American troops; it's just ridiculous. Take that money and start making JOBS here! We have an infrastructure in need of repair! and we are running out of natural resources... so where does one go to find new natural resources if the earth has none????? maybe mining the moon? Mars? because that is the only other place to go.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  69. Barry Davis

    I still question what if the BILLIONS of $$$ spent on the space program could have been spent on ,oh maybe,the homeless,the needy ,or/and war veterans and their famalies?What practicle use is space program ?

    April 17, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Tim

      Clearly not education as it appears you had none.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:39 am |
      • Al

        Concur with Tim.

        April 17, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • bspurloc

      FYI wacko.... NASA is why MANY MANY MANY inventions exist today.... in fact most of the inventions in the last 50 years were due to NASA... so stop crying

      April 17, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • G Crawford

      Money for NASA and the Space Program did not just vanish into thin air. There were a lot of jobs involved, and a lot of technology developed that we all use in our every day lives.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • JustTrustMe

      You mean the money spent on thousands of jobs in dozens of states?
      Or the countless advancements in science, technology and knowledge?

      With a HIGHLY limited budget, year in and out?

      April 17, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • VoizOfReason

      I suppose our ancestors should have never discovered/explored penicillin, the human genome, the light bulb, the combustion engine, the cure for polio, etc. ...time and money better spent on feeding the world's population for a day, eh?

      April 17, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Al

      In addition to what others have said about learning and developing new technologies, humans, if we want to endure as a species, will eventually have to find other places to live beyond earth. There really isn't any real natural selection for humans anymore (social/economic status is about the only thing humans have to fight for) and if everyone keeps on wanting to have lots of babies and life expectancy stays the way it is in most developed countries, we either have to find other planets to live on eventually, or we're just going to end up fighting each other until the population is back at acceptable levels or something. Also, since the sun will eventually die, it'll be a good thing for our ancestors that we decided to invest in learning about other planets and space travel.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:24 am |
      • Al

        *descendants

        April 17, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Chris R

      So lets think about some of the things that came out of the space program
      1) Satellites. If you like GPS, weather maps, environmental assessments, highly accurate maps, high speed communications, and so forth you owe that to the space program
      2) Computers. The push towards miniaturization of electronics was a direct effect of the space program. It really was the soil in which the information age took root.
      3) Advances in material sciences: high strength yet flexible plastics, advanced alloys, etc
      4) Industry – high performance turbo pumps, structural design applied to high strength light weight safer school bus chassis, etc
      5) Medicine, laproscopic tools allowing surgeons to control multiple instruments at once, implantable heart lung machines, pacemakers and ICDs, etc
      Shall I go on? I mean, I can do this all day if you like.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:25 am |
      • Aaron

        You forgot Velcro. It's pretty common.

        April 17, 2012 at 10:38 am |
      • RD

        You forgot about Super Glue.....can't live without it.

        April 17, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Danny G

      Check this site... here are just 10 of the dozens of inventions by NASA we use every day, they have sparked a huge economic boom for the country and benefited humans all over the world... Space exploration openned the door to scientific innovation the likes the world might not have seen in another 50-100 years... is like the say goes, you can be penny wise, pound foolish... when are we going to realize that war business is no business that yields prosperity; our common defense should be that, common for all citizens; our military influence and might is not going to provide the common man with the innovations of tomorrow... not like Space exploration has... commercial enterprise is geared to make a profit; making profits often curves innovation because of the equation of demand; if the public see no demand then the risks to be creative are stiffled ... Apple, Facebook, Google are only a few of the companies where innovation means EVERYTHING... but the commercial world does not always work that way... so Government still has a role on this...

      April 17, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Herky515

      Perhaps we should've used the Billions of $$$ to launch the homeless and needy into space (one way trip). Two birds/one stone.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • YeahISaidItSoWhat

      You win the Darwin Award for this month....Imbecile.

      April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  70. JwarrenMD

    Reblogged this on TheMedicalLife.

    April 17, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  71. Josh

    "That will be the final exclamation point to the end of an era of space exploration."

    Unfortunately, that says it all.

    April 17, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  72. Larry

    When i say wow i dont care, people say but what about all the technology we have now because of it? My answer is simple one its not as much as you think and two if we never had it to begin with we wouldnt know the difference. We cant miss something you never had. Ive been alive longer than most of this technology has been in wide use and Its nice but if tomorrow they said its all gone i wouldnt be crushed.

    April 17, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Omen

      Wow you are a real ignorant. Do more research stupid.

      April 17, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • Mike O

      And you live in a log cabin your Pappy built. And you walked to school every day 5 miles. Uphill both ways. And you remember when all you needed was an eighthgrade education to get ahead in this world... blah blah blah

      April 17, 2012 at 5:06 am |
    • La Rocca

      You're an Idiot.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Tim

      The sheer irony of this post is made possible by having to access it from a computer connected to the vastness of the internet. I don't want to live in a world where we're not continually pushing the realm of science and technology and creating wonders that have never seen before. Larry's ilk is the reason the Dark Ages lasted so long. Die in a fire, sir.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:30 am |
      • Vad

        Tim, your post was a good one right up to the point where you told the guy to die in a fire. I think that illustrates the down side to technology. The loss of humanity.

        April 17, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Chemist99

      Must be the other brother of Larry

      April 17, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • bspurloc

      actually the past 50 years of inventions are MOSTLY due to NASA... grats... trying reading a little u obvious lack upstairs knowledge

      April 17, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Chris R

      Larry, you would be crushed because our entire economy is based on many of the advances that came out of the space program (computer, communications, satellites, etc). If they went away tomorrow the economy would go into a nose dive and you, dear sir, would be crushed by that.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  73. yankeeshogun

    Imagine all the iPods you could make if you scrapped those damn things.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:21 am |
  74. Don Lucuis

    Reblogged this on Don Lucuis' Chronicle.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:17 am |
  75. Eric

    So that means it can be in the same museum as all the other space vehicles we have that didn't go to the moon...no I'm just kidding. I was just seeing if Buzz Aldrin would punch me through the computer.

    So, when we going to stop this charade and show our space tech that is under MILITARY control and not NASA. I know, I know, that's against international treaties to have the military in space. I'm sure they're not doing anything like that at AR51. Nope, no space program there; it's all green men and not a cover for our spy planes and secret space tech. Yup. Move along. Nothing to see there. No space program there.

    April 17, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • rossco

      goggle x-37b ..... believe it or not there is a US space shuttle in orbit right now... a USAF one :)

      April 17, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  76. C Garza

    My 9th grade science class was scheduled to take a field trip to Edwards to watch the first one land...my teacher was laid off prior though and it never happened...I did have the fortune of seeing it in the sky on it's approach to land over my house in So. Cal more than once! I wish it could have come where I am now, in Seattle to the Boeing Museum of Flight, but will see it if I ever get to the other coast :)

    April 17, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  77. m.s.mohamed ansari

    I am sure still nover reching NASA space or moon

    April 17, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Mike O

      Huh??? If you are trying to replace Raj on Big Bang Theory you have to speak more clearly. Honest.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:10 am |
      • Mike O

        Bazinga

        April 17, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  78. m.s.mohamed ansari

    RUSH SAVE GLOBAL ECONOMIC TSUNAMI

    M.S.Mohamed Ansari 13 April 2009

    All press and Media Arabs leader and G20 leader at. Headquarters of All association
    AND ELECTRONIC VOTE. CONTROLL BY CONGRESS.
    A TO Z + 8. QUEEN + 8
    Royal wedding. And royal security force 10 generation total cost $ 57 trillion
    Each every politician rolling 8 years only just like chess board Game.
    But queen family rolling 10 generation y

    GLOBAL ECONOMIC COLLAPSE REASON WAR. Improve Economy only 6 points. Peace, prayer
    Liberty, Unity, friendly And simplicity.

    I am also Happy to kill osma bin laden
    Turing point of global Economy. Islam not allowed to be Terrorist and Terrorist people are not a Muslim
    1. Please avoid war. Day by Day war cost increase $ 3.5 trillion
    2. Global economy and food price every Day increase
    3. International job less unemployment Y. All businessmen effected business.
    4. Global financial crisis every CNC manufacture. New technology energy product Effected FDI investors.
    5. Every Day OPEC Oil Price Increase
    6. World poverty problem. Bankrupt 170 Bank overalls 87000 Branch
    7. Each every single man Effected
    8. Ignore future Death million of already Death
    9. Million of People Wounded
    10. Global environment climate will be change this will lead Global Agriculture problem

    Copy.
    A. International criminal court. B. white house. global human right association .C.IMF
    D. euro union. E. united nation F.ALL international famous press and media

    JUSTICE IS IN PERIL. SAVIOUR OF INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE ALONE CAN PROTECT HUMANITY

    From. Mr.M.S.Mohamed Ansari,
    154, Angappa Naicken Street,
    Chennai – 600 001.
    Tamil Nadu,
    INDIA..
    To , The Hon’ble Chief Justice,
    The Supreme Court,
    United States of America,
    Washington, D.C.
    Fax no: 213.547.8080
    Dear Sir,
    Sub: Prosecution of previous President Mr. George W.Bush, for violation of International Code of Conduct.
    Mr. George W.Bush, the previous President of United States of America, initiated a war against IRAQ, without obtaining the previous sanction of United Nations Organization (UNO) on the pretext of having nuclear weapons, even though the then IRAQ government openly exhibited to the whole world that it has no nuclear weapons.
    According to the CNN WORLD report, in the war 6, 75,000 civilians killed, 7500 troops of USA and its allied forces killed 3 25 000 people wounded and $ 3.5 Trillion Dollar spent for the war. This spending of $ 3.5 Trillion Dollar is the main cause of action for the present economic crises prevailing all over the world.
    After winning the war against IRAQ, the United States of America’s President Mr. George W.Bush, also admitted the same fact, and he openly stated that the Intelligence agency misguided him.
    Later on, even the United Nations Organization (UNO) also certified that the IRAQ has no nuclear weapons.
    Then it is the bounded duty of the United States of America and its allied forces to withdraw from IRAQ.
    But instead of withdrawing from IRAQ, the United States of America and its allied forces formed a government in IRAQ, under their control and administered the entire IRAQ, and its peoples.
    This indicates a clear violation of duty by the President of United States of America Mr. George W.Bush and also a clear case of violation of the International Code of Conduct for UNO members.
    Thus Mr. George W.Bush attracts prosecution for the above said offence.
    Thus I hereby pray this Hon’ble Court initiate criminal proceedings against Mr. George W. Bush, and give him maximum punishment for
    a) initiating the war against the IRAQ
    b) killing its innocent IRAQI peoples civilian 6, 75 000
    c) Killing troops of USA and allied forces and 7 500
    d) The present economic crises.
    e) 3 25 000 civilian and coalition 39 000 wounded
    Dated on this day of 13th day of April, 2009.
    Yours truly, (M.S.MOHAMED ANSARI)
    COPY TO
    The Chief Justice, the International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands.
    The Secretary General United Nations Organization
    The Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, IRAQ.
    His Excellency Mr.Barack Obama, the President of United States of America, White House, Washington D.C.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • syed ahmed

      CAN WE JUST MOVE ON DEAR ,I BELIVED IS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ,STARTING GETTING TIGHT ABOUT IRAQ/AFGHAN AND IRAN SINCE 1079 MAY BE BEYOND ,DON,T GAVE ME WRONG SENCE I BORN I AM LISTING THIS B/S DEAR TIME TO MOVE ON TIGER ,TEACH SOME THING ELSE TO THE OUR,S KID,S WORD IS PEACE DO YOU UNDERSTAND I HOPE SO ?

      April 17, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Mike O

      Ahhhhh please tell me you are in the US so I don't have to get a passport to punch you right in your stupid face.

      April 17, 2012 at 5:16 am |
  79. Dan

    Cant we fit it to a rocket with a bad o-ring and make Obama the pilot?

    April 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Watchman

      Hey Dan,

      Why don't you type in your real name address and phone number so the feds can come pick up your sorry a__ for that threat, you coward.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  80. Phil

    Can't we fill it with occupiers and have one more launch? Just leave it up there?

    April 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  81. Karen

    The one city that should have gotten a shuttle is my home town-Dayton, Ohio. It's the birthplace of the Wright Brothers and their very early attempts at powered flight happened not far from where I live.

    April 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • M Lambo

      Karen, I agree very much with you. I live in the Midwest and I longed to see one of the Space Shuttles up close. Since I am limited to my traveling, it seems this is not possible since none of the shuttles will be close to the midwest. The selection process of places to exhibit the shuttle were flawed. The Midwest got the shaft as the other places in the country were not as deserving to exhibit the shuttle as the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE MUSEUM in Dayton, would have been the perfect place to show off one of the shuttles. I have been there visiting the museum in Dayton and know they had a plan to get one for their musem ( I even donated to the fundraiser) NASA awarded one to New York and it does not even have a site or definite plans. What a joke. My whole life I was a space enthusiast following from the first Mercury flight to the last shuttle flight. I supported Nasa very much but now they disappoint me very much. I do not live in Ohio I live near Chicago. Good luck Nasa, thanks for thinking of everyone in the country !!!!

      April 16, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
      • Brianna

        I agree with both of you.. i live in Dayton, Ohio as well and am personally related to the Wright Brothers! I've got pride for Dayton, even though the city may seem completely in the gutter... there is a lot of history here that is plenty to take great pride in!

        April 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Mike

      Personally, everyone down in Houston, TX felt pretty snubbed by the selection of the shuttle's final destinations. We served as Mission Control for the Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, yet were left out in the cold on this one.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  82. vision

    obama will be running proud on the fact that he shut down the space shttle all by his lonesom as well as ran up 6 trillion in new debt durring the same time frame...

    he can also run on this disaster...http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2011/10/flashback-obamas-failed-stimulus-cost-more-than-9-year-iraq-war/

    April 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • smc

      The Bush administration scheduled the end of the shuttle program back in 2004.

      April 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
      • Mike O

        Yes, Obama only killed the Moon and Mars missions. Bush scrapped the shuttle program.

        April 17, 2012 at 4:39 am |
      • Norasusan

        SMC...GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!

        http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/54868main_bush_trans.pdf

        April 17, 2012 at 10:44 am |
      • ceebee

        George W Bush January 14th 2004:

        "The Shuttle's chief purpose over the next several years will be to help finish assembly of the International Space Station. In 2010, the Space Shuttle - after nearly 30 years of duty - will be retired from service. "

        April 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Buckley

      As the song goes. PUT THE BLAME ON MAME GUYS. If you all inheritd all this debt at the the same time two wars I would blame you and not me I did not go to war oin a lie I did not take all the money in the till and use it up and I do not get $400,000 a year pension as Bush does. MY POCKET AND YOURS So keep on blaming our Pres. When are you all going to tell the truth me that voted for Repbulicans before. You got rid of a true one Huntsman and left with trash.

      April 17, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • Tim

      Lol, he's also trying to pass the Iraq war off on Obama too. Get a damn clue, @vision.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  83. Kiler

    The author should be old enough to remember when the shuttle regularly traveled this way – before shuttles landed in Fla, they landed in California (once in New Mexico), and had to be "shuttled" back to Fla via 747.

    April 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  84. Marine5484

    You know where the shuttle should really be?.....on the launch pad!

    April 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Rich

      Agreed! I was at Kennedy Space Center about two weeks ago, and the launch pad looked pathetic without an orbiter waiting to lift off.

      April 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • zettman

      I agree we need to keep the shuttles up and running until we find a way to replace them. We need to explore space, the US needs to lead the way! Do we as a nation have the guts to put men on mars? We did put men on the moon can we as nation pull our wisdom together and land on mars? Or do we hide our head in the sand, will we take the risk of sending people into space?

      April 16, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  85. Potential Buyer

    show me the Carfax

    April 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Jim

      good one!!! Carfax... LOL... anyway, how are they actually gonna get the shuttle to the museum??? if the 747 can only land at the airport on the runway, then, how will they transport it to the Smithsonian??? Hmmmmm... Logistics.....

      April 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
      • Peter

        The museum is at the airport genius. http://www.nasm.si.edu/udvarhazy/

        April 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  86. David M

    So, once the last shuttle is delivered, who will get the 747? It will no longer be needed.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Craig

      Well, no. They still need to transport Enterprise from Washington to NY, Endeavour to California, and the model shuttle Inspiration to Texas.

      April 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
      • Mike O

        The point is... Then what???

        April 17, 2012 at 5:22 am |
  87. JBS

    "The risks you would take for the shuttle I think are higher than most people are willing to accept in 2012"

    Have you ever seen people flock to the causeway for a shuttle launch? You should take a poll on this question. I bet 90+ percent say that people in 2012 are willing to accept the risk. Accidents happen. We don't stop driving to work because it's "too dangerous", and we shouldn't have stopped flying these vehicles either.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  88. Terry

    I support NASA and space flight in general. But, it's time to move much of the general space business, such as launching satellites and restocking the ISS, to the private sector. Pure R&D for interplanetary missions needs to be NASA's next mission, robotic as well as human. Let's get a moon base built to use as a staging point.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Tim

      If the shuttle program has to be scrapped, I long to see what you hope here come to fruition. Good ideas.

      April 17, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  89. Carla Vazq

    NASA has not stopped anything. I work for NASA and we have many projects moving forward. This is only one http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/sls1.html

    Get your facts right. We are working with Russia and China. We don't need to do anything by ourselves. Those days or the rush are over.

    Do your research.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • intothemoonbeam

      I agree NASA is still doing great things with the funding they receive. The James Webb telescope will be awesome once it launches, The Curiosity rover is on its way to Mars and I'm really excited about that and I absolutely can't wait until New Horizons spacecraft reaches Pluto in 2015. All I'm saying is the government needs to be giving NASA much more money. I'm amazed at the projects that have been launched on current funding, just imagine if that funding was doubled......

      April 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Michael Vick

      According to CIA, Chinese have stolen 99% of NASA's secrets. Perhaps NASA is working way too closely with the Chinese than it should be. The stuff that got stolen from us end up in the latest Chinese missile technology, and some of them got trickled down to North Korea.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
      • Mike O

        NASA's secrets??? They are a public agency, they have no secrets. The only classified activities were when they launched military projects. You can build a space shuttle from scratch with their plans but it would cost a few billion dollars.

        April 17, 2012 at 5:27 am |
    • Norasusan

      Why would America want to work with countries that have the very real potential to become our enemies? NO! NASA needs to work on her own, not with the Commies.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  90. Josh

    "it was like nothing ever built."

    Well, Buran and Petrica come to mind too.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • JP

      I'm sure the intention of the comment was to say "prior to the US Shuttle."

      April 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • rossco

      Buran flew once with no pilots and no flight deck, no cargo and no life support. Then russia went broke, they put it in a shed and then the roof fell on it after a snow storm. yep, real successful.

      as for Petrica, what is that? nothing by that name on the interwebs....

      April 17, 2012 at 6:36 am |
  91. intothemoonbeam

    Yep this is what happens when the government continues to reduce the NASA budget every single year in favor of Military and Welfare funding. Not a lot people realize it but NASA is tremendously underfunded. Only a half a penny on the tax dollar. They deserve so much more than that.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • intothemoonbeam

      I'll also add if we had been funding NASA like it was funded in the late 60's (it was almost 5% of the national budget then compared to 0.5% now) then we would have probably already sent humans to Mars and would be on our way to Europa now.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  92. spike

    Houston? No. Sorry "space city" Houston. Nobody goes to Houston unless they have to go there for business. However, people from all over the world flock to NYC, LA, DC and Florida for vacations. Houston... lol.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Dn

      Laugh all you want but Houston is one of the fastest growing cities. People don't come to Houston to visit, they come to live. The space shuttle in NYC was just a political kick at Houston – but it take more than that to keep a great city down.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • ProudHoustonian

      Remember announcements like "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed,", and "Houston, we have a problem"? It is always the JSC that "flies" the shuttles and other spacecraft, and solves inflight problems. I strongly feel that JSC and Houston deserve to have a shuttle because of the critical role NASA/JSC played, and continues to play, in all of NASA's space projects. I can understand Florida having one, and even the Smithsonian. But NYC, and LA??? Why?

      You say people only visit Houston for business. This is so true when the economy hits other cities hard and many of you stream to Houston in search of jobs, low cost of living and clement weather.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  93. Jim

    We are the next empire to fall.... change our names to the American Empire.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  94. Skxawng

    And Houston (You know, "Space City"?) gets no orbiters. Flawlessly logical to the bureaucratic mind.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  95. Big Bird

    I think it's sad that Obama denied Houston a shuttle.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Boater39

      I don't recall President Obama having ANY say as to where the shuttles are retiring to....

      April 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
      • Mike O

        Of course he didn't. He killed the Moon and Mars program so he wants nothing to do with the space program even as the shuttles are retired

        April 17, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • supernova

      Does anybody in these posts know what the president does for a living? Do you really think he's elbow deep in these budget decisions? I think not. Think bigger folks, like the space program(s).

      April 17, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  96. Nadine

    Wow, I still remember the day Discovery first launched. It doesn't seem like more than 30 years have passed by us in the blink of an eye. The US Space Program is now entering its terminal phase–into the history books and on display at national museums. Truly an end of an era.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  97. FDP

    Sad day indeed that America has lost it's spirit of exploration. It's almost as if the soul of the nation has died.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Mike O

      The spirit of exploration is not dead. It is triple mortgaged and won't be appearing again for the next 50 years. Sad huh?

      April 17, 2012 at 4:56 am |
  98. LB

    Don't forget the North Koreans...LOL

    April 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  99. T

    Sheesh !
    I can't believe we're closing out our shuttle ships and for what ? Back to the Spam-in-a-can 1967 technology for our astronauts ? We should be building advanced 2nd or 3rd next generation of shuttles (maybe with V.T.O.L. capability or to launch from ground to space without boosters) for the space program.
    If NASA ever get a bigger allowance in their budget in the R&D section, build a new shuttle. We should be moving forward with the best of personnel, materials and funding, not the lowest bidder. If it ever happens, I vote to name the next shuttle ship "ENTERPRISE".

    April 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • wat

      We're a century or two from having the technology for full VTOL spacecraft.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • MB

      We should have retired the Space Shuttle years ago. It didn't do half the things it was designed to do (over 100 missions a year, for one thing). It was a pickup truck when all you needed was a car. It was a pickup truck when what you really needed was an 18 wheeler.

      Rockets get the job do just as well (or better) and are much much cheaper.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
      • MB

        Excuse me, 20 missions per year.

        April 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  100. JK

    Very sad. The spirit of US exploration is being squashed. Make room for the Russians, Chinese, and European; time to move.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Sarge

      I agree, but where are you going to move to? Mexico or Canada? The shuttles flew for 30 years, and as much as I disagree with discontinuing the program and having no way for Americans to get into space, the shuttles served their purpose. Prior to STS-1, NASA had also served it's purpose, with the Apollo program and achieving the ultimate goal of putting the first man on the moon. The conspiracy theorists will say otherwise, but we are the only country thus far to accomplish that feat. All the crap you see on TV and in the movies about ships blasting off at warp speed to other dimensions will never happen, mainly because the technology does not exist and it would need to be a global effort which would never happen. Unless aliens come down here and attack Earth, humans will never get along. Mars seems the next logical place to aspire to, and until the Russians or Chinese decide to go, there's not much up there aside from the ISS.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
      • Mike O

        Low earth orbit. Such a let down from what NASA designed in the 1960's. Back then they had a plan to go to Mars by 1990. Nixon killed it even before he killed Apollos 18 through 20.

        April 17, 2012 at 5:01 am |
      • Josh

        The Apollo program ended because the Soviets never went to the moon; even in second place. The Space Race ended at that point, along with any future targets (Mars, etc).

        You can't blame Nixon for that fact.

        April 17, 2012 at 7:29 am |
      • Aaron

        I cant believe people actually think that we should not continue to explore space.

        April 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • bspurloc

      u forgot North Korea!

      April 17, 2012 at 9:45 am |
      • Snacklefish

        They're too busy exploring the ocean floor with their rockets.

        April 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
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