Discovery is retired / Photos by Justin Ray
So, the Space Shuttle program is over. After 30 years and 135 missions, NASA is retiring the last 3 orbiters. These stunning pictures by Justin Ray for Spaceflight Now show Discovery stripped of its engines in Florida. Over the next year the machine will be made safe for display, in preparation for delivery to the Smithsonian Museum.
I first saw these images on ISO50, where Scott very eloquently summarises his view of the Shuttle program:
“I wonder what we all gained growing up in a world where the Shuttle existed. I know it was a big part of my consciousness as a kid and probably had something to do with how I felt about my national identity. For me it symbolized the combined efforts of some of our greatest minds collectively reaching for a better understanding of the world we live in. For some — and perhaps rightly so — it probably represented a colossal waste of resources in the face of more earthly problems. Maybe it was both, but I’ll personally miss it as a symbol of what we as humans can achieve when we work together.”