Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Atlantis: End of an Era

image credit: NASA

Some of my Facebook entries since July 8. Atlantis, last space shuttle launch
. Prepare to be bored, but just felt the need to record this event this way. All times Central Daylight Time unless noted.

July 8, 8:08 a.m. CDT: Watching the last shuttle launch coverage from my living room. They're totally awesome in person. Hope the weather cooperates. Go, Atlantis!

[Didn't make it down to any of these last three launches. Have been to two in the past. Nothing like it. Also saw one heading in on approach to landing at Kennedy once from the beach at the condo in Coco Beach as John watched from atop one of the buildings at Cape Canaveral. He got to see the actual landing, but it was really something just standing there on the beach watching it pass over, with double sonic booms and shuttle sizzling by overhead. ]

July 8: 9:31 a.m.: Annette McNutt asks: Do you remember where you were for the first shuttle launch - Columbia?
9:51 a.m.: I reply: In Memphis, working at archaeological museum for both the first two launches, both Columbia, but that's about all I remember. I remember where I was when we lost Challenger--working in Memphis at Mississippi River Museum at Mud Island, helping to install a statewide traveling exhibit to commemorate the 200th birthday of the state of Tennessee.

July 8, 10:30 a.m.: Liftoff!!! Praying for success. Awesome photography these days.

July 21, 3:49 a.m.: Deorbit burn underway 3:49 a.m.

4:35 a.m: Getting ready to watch final space shuttle landing, Atlantis, in about an hour

4:36 a.m.:

4:39 a.m.: Atlantis now entering the Earth's atmosphere.

4:40 a.m.: Praying for a safe reentry and landing for Atlantis

4:46 a.m.: Ten minutes to landing. Atlantis just passing the west coast of FL headed to Kennedy Space Center Landing site

4:51 a.m.: 5 min to touchdown

4:52 a.m.: Atlantis: last lap around Kennedy

4:54 a.m.: Main gear touchdown

4:55 a.m.: Nose gear touchdown

4: 56 a.m: Wheel stop. Atlantis mission complete.

4:57 a.m.: Atlantis is home. End of an era.

5:11 a.m.: Marlies Holl Quattrochi comments on previous post: A beautiful landing! Bittersweet.
I reply: Yes, it is.

5: 15 a.m.: Full daylight at Kennedy. Excellent shot of Atlantis on the runway cooling off.

6:19 a.m.: Astronauts out of the orbiter and on the ground, being greeted by NASA admin and support crew, lots of handshakes and hugs; final walk-around; speeches

6:26 a.m.: Nap time for Melissa after speeches--maybe during

my thanks to NASA for photography; also apologies to NASA for any photo copyright infractions; just had to do it this time


  1. What a sight...although I only saw it on tv this time. NASA must be topsy-turvy these days around there, but those are some great photos. An end of an era.

    Also, so sad to hear about your Pushkin, very pretty cat.
    Smile today. :)

  2. I remember some of those historic moments in space. My dad had a tape recorder and would tape the commentaries from our TV. I remember where I was when we lost Challenger too. Like it was yesterday. So sad.

  3. yes it certainly is the end of an era!

  4. so very cool!! i have never been to a launch in person...but being here in FL, i have seen it up in the sky after take-off!!

    life goes on...and things always change...end of an era...