End of an era…

To commemorate today’s end of the Space Shuttle era I dug up this old image I painted years ago based on a NASA photo of the first Shuttle ‘Enterprise’ which was only used for atmospheric gliding tests. There’s also this amazing MIT aircraft systems engineering course covering the creation of the shuttle, highly recommended if you’re interested in the technical details of this amazingly complex machine.

CLICK HERE FOR A 1920x1200px WALLPAPER VERSION of this image.

Having been born long after the heyday of manned space flight, the Apollo program, the Shuttle took its place during my childhood as a symbol of exploration and advancement. Even though the financial and scientific benefit of the shuttle program (and manned spaceflight) might be questionable – its concept was inspiring! Was, because progress and exploration weren’t connected to the shuttle any more, it merely became a maintenance vessel for the ISS, and an expensive one at that. So it might not be the worst thing to let this symbol rest and (hopefully) head into new directions.