Brilliantly inspirational piece in the Guardian from astronauts Piers Sellers and Scott Altman on the space shuttle. I particularly like these words from Piers:
"I've flown on two shuttles and they both felt a little bit different. They are real ships with their individual characters and their own nicks and bumps. You look at the shuttle, it's not as if it's this pristine, shining, gleaming piece of metallic technology – it looks like a ship, it's got dents and burns and inside multiple crews have whacked the paintwork and you can see scratches and things. They are ships that have been operated and lived in and done these incredible voyages all with their individual characters. I am personally very fond of the shuttle. When they wind up in museums I'll go and see them and I'll be happy to see them like old friends."
Full article here.
Thanks to Piers I was able to observe the launch of STS-132 last year, a truly memorable experience. A year earlier I also witnessed (thanks to my friend Louise Kleba) the launch of STS-125, which was another Atlantis mission and one commanded by Scott Altman. As documented at the time, I managed to lose my camera hours after the launch but fortunately that didn't happen with STS-132.