As the human spaceflight plans at NASA transition away from the Shuttle program, there have been lots of goodbyes. And hellos. Recently, both the Space Shuttles Atlantis and Endeavor found new permanent homes in their post-flight lives. Atlantis is now at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in Florida, and Endeavor will be found from now on at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
At each location, NASA held a welcome home/retirement party for the Shuttles. As we've talked about before , the Shuttle program did so much more than just take people into space (which, of course, is a very important job). It also delivered many unique and important telescopes and instruments into orbit – including the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
It's a small gesture, but we wanted to be there to help celebrate the next phase for these Shuttles. We brought with us materials and activities on the "Dark Universe," that is, the mysterious dark matter and dark energy that dominate the composition of the Universe. The Shuttle program helped make discoveries like this possible, and we thank them for everything they have done for science and exploration.
For more photos of the Shuttle retirement events, please see our Facebook page:
-Megan Watzke, Chandra EPO