This is the last chapter of the Space Shuttle Program story that NASA has been telling for 30 years with its Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit.
NASA, along with the families of astronauts who lost their lives in two missions, put together a collection of exhibits that will help preserve their memories forever and help the public acknowledge the brave deeds of those extraordinary people who died in the name of science.
The memorial aims to pay tribute to shuttles Columbia and Challenger and to the crews that travelled on them on missions STS-107 and STS-51L.
The astronauts’ families attended the opening of the exhibition, which is 2,000 square feet large and comprises the biggest collection of items belonging to both crews. Some of these items have never been exposed to the public before, which makes this collection even more special.
Among the things displayed, there are also pieces of hardware that have been recovered from the two shuttles, showing the physical damage they suffered. The personal items of the astronauts travelling on them include photos, boots, a lunchbox, a bible and a hand-crafted airplane.
The exhibition was officially opened by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana, who held speeches to mark the occasion.
“The crews of Challenger and Columbia are forever a part of a story that is ongoing. It is the story of humankind’s evolving journey into space, the unknown, and the outer-reaches of knowledge, discovery and possibility. It is a story of hope,” said Charles Bolden.
Robert Cabana added that it was of utmost importance to share these stories with everyone instead of locking them up somewhere.
The Space Shuttle Program story was a successful one in most cases. Missions that seemed almost impossible were carried out by various teams of brave astronauts from 1981 to 2011. They set an example for many generations to come.
This increased the popularity of the program, as many were captivated by the outcomes of these spectacular missions that became legendary.
As any story has its tragedies, this one was no exception. Unfortunately, the missions the shuttles Columbia and Challenger were sent on were not that successful and ended with the loss of those brave astronauts’ lives whose memories will be preserved by means of this exhibition.
Image Source: spacecoasdaily