Atlantis Rollout: ‘Sad, But Not the End’
Around the State
Space shuttle Atlantis took its final journey across Kennedy Space Center on Friday.
NASA officials declared the final rollout of the Atlantis, the last of the shuttle fleet to depart from the space center, “Sad, but not the end” of NASA’s exploration.
Still, it could be years before Cape Canaveral residents again see manned launches.
The Space Launch System, a rocket built from space shuttle-derived pieces that is expected to get America back into space, isn’t likely to begin unmanned flights until 2017. And to many, it doesn’t appear to have any specific mission other than to keep jobs going in various states with focuses on the aerospace industry.
Friday's Atlantis event did draw crowds willing to pay the $50 to $90 entry costs to watch the nearly 10-mile rollout, but many of the former workers didn’t attend.
More than 1,000 free passes were printed for former shuttle workers who have seen massive downsizing since the shuttle fleet was grounded, but few were distributed to the event that had the shuttle moving at 2 miles an hour atop a 76-wheel platform to its new $100 million home in the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex.
The industrial complex run by Delaware North remains under design, and is expected to open next July.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.