Sic transit gloria
July 3, 2012 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Up-close with Atlantis. A photo gallery of Space Shuttle Atlantis, as it awaits decommissioning in the VAB.
posted by bitmage (10 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Well, it's not really Atlantis anymore. It's been stripped of engines and fuel lines and what not, the computer system was powered down for the final time. What we're looking at is a former spaceship that's been retrofitted with fake engines and other non-working equipment to make it look pretty for people to wander by and gaze at for 30 seconds before moving on to the next display in the neatly organized exhibit.

Which is actually quite fine, because it'll leave room that little girl or boy who will gaze upon its stuffed husk and bask in the glow of past memories they've read or watched late at night, when they should be in bed. They'll know the size and weight of Atlantis's engines, how much thrust they had, its affectionate >nickname, the crew and cargo from various missions that it hauled 200+ miles in 10 minutes and the number of times it visit the ISS.

That kid will look at what is and imagine what can be, what should be and that will be Atlantis's finest hour.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Back in February, I visited KSC and saw the VAB for the first time. Atlantis had recently arrived; I took several pics, but only one turned out.
posted by deadcowdan at 7:26 PM on July 3, 2012

Thanks for that video, Brandon. And I wonder if they ever found the ring.
posted by bitmage at 7:42 PM on July 3, 2012

I was not expecting Michelins. Firestones, Goodyears, sure. Michelins? No.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:54 PM on July 3, 2012

Additional photos from the decommissioning process on Discovery and Endeavour.
posted by bitmage at 8:00 PM on July 3, 2012

High-res panoramas of Discovery
posted by bitmage at 8:10 PM on July 3, 2012

This was great, cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:30 PM on July 3, 2012

I went and checked out Discovery at the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian... absolutely mindblowing! They didn't clean her up one bit - char marks and all. People milled about, around, and under her for quite a while... not just that shoulder shrugging 'neat' and move on. It was awesome to look at something that had spent so much time in space. That and... well... the Udvar-Hazy museum is just awesome in general. If you're ever in the DC area, it's a must visit!
posted by matty at 9:20 AM on July 4, 2012

In totally unrelated news: 'Britain's Atlantis' found at bottom of North sea
posted by homunculus at 3:02 PM on July 4, 2012

And in a milestone that passed unremarked anywhere but among those of us that worked with it, last Friday the Launch Processing System (LPS) was powered off for the final time. LPS was the set of hardware and software responsible for checking out and launching the Vehicles. In all the years of Shuttle launches there was never a launch slip due to a failure or issue with LPS, a pretty impressive statistic.

It sure is getting quiet around this Space Center.
posted by jeporter99 at 5:17 AM on July 5, 2012

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