I am almost certain that every child growing up in my generation had some aspirations of traveling into space as an Astronaut. I had the path all carved out. Following my hall of fame worthy career with the Astros, I was going to become an astronaut. It sounded simple enough, right?
While I wasn’t alive during the tragic Challenger incident in 1986, there will always be two moments in the space shuttle program that will forever be ingrained within my mind.
First, in the late 1990s, I had the opportunity to watch the shuttle fly over Texas and the city of Houston during a night landing. The view was outstanding. An orange glow surrounded the base of the shuttle as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
The second memory occurred on the morning of February 1, 2003. I was driving just east of the Kingwood, Texas area when I noticed some sort of debris in the skies. I had no clue what it was at the time. About an hour later I received word that the Space Shuttle Columbia had disintegrated over the state of Texas.
On July 8th, STS-135 is tentatively set for launch, marking not only the final space flight for the Space Shuttle Atlantis, but also the final manned space flight for the shuttle program. Just six days from now an era that change the culture of American lifestyle will come to an end.
With that being said, enjoy the following photo gallery which depicts the history of the space shuttle program, courtesy of The Atlantic.