Shuttle Atlantis fueling for its final mission
July 8, 2011 marked the end of an era for the space shuttle program and as major fan all space programs, I'm sad that this one is coming to an end because it truly inspired my generation to literally reach for the stars. Space travel was a major thing for me as a kid. I still remember class being interrupted to watch space shuttle launches and it seems as though that impact still has reminents in my life (if you ask my son right now what he wants to be when he grows up he will proudly proclaim, "Astronaut" ). However, this is all bittersweet because I am excited about what lies ahead in the future for NASA and the technological advances that they inspire. Case in point: we already saw the Iphone go 10,000 ft above the earth but now we get to see the phone really spread its wings on the International Space Station as its being used to conduct experiments for NASA's final space shuttle mission.
Countdown starts at 2:52 mins.
NASA's space shuttle program was born in January 1972, when President Richard Nixon announced its existence to the nation. Back in those days, the shuttle was billed as a breakthrough vehicle that could enable safe, frequent and relatively cheap access to space.
"The shuttle era really was an effort to do a whole new kind of spaceflight," Valerie Neal, curator of human spaceflight at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., told SPACE.com. The shuttle program, she added, "held with it the promise of making space just a normal part of human endeavor."
The first flight took place on April 12, 1981. Since then, the shuttle — the world's first and only reusable spacecraft — has become NASA's workhorse vehicle, with the five-shuttle fleet making 135 flights over three decades.
Two iPhone 4s loaded with an app to help astronauts perform experiments in space was launch aboard NASA's shuttle Atlantis. They will be the first iPhones to fly in space, officials say.
While intended for space use, a version of the app is also available now for 99 cents in the Apple App Store. This version is designed to simulate the experience astronauts will have for users on the ground.
All you ever wanted to know about space shuttles:
Editor's Note: Click to find out the future of NASA.