Dismantling a Piece of American Lore
April 4, 2012
These pictures, of the disassembly of NASA’s space shuttle program will either awe you with their space-seared splendor or as one commenter put it, “make you feel like you just put your dog down.”
Not sure if we’re quite in tears yet – even after repeated childhood viewings of The Brave Little Toaster – but there is something sad about The Atlantic’s recent photo feature of the ongoing work to deconstruct the space shuttles.
In reaction to the decommissioning, many commenters are spouting fairly vile things about the current administration. In fact, the end of the shuttle program was a long-planned milestone in NASA’s development. Focusing its resources on developing more efficient propulsion systems and closer-to-home Lower Earth Orbit projects means NASA will be working on programs that directly relate to the dilemmas facing the planet. Previous administrations were accused of only keeping the program alive as a vanity project – and for the great photo-ops, of course!
Despite the controversy, almost all of us grew up obsessed by images and books about the space shuttles, making this a bi-partisan farewell. Future kids will probably read about Field Propulsion-powered deep space craft on their iPad 35s. Damn kids! Back in my day…
See the full set here.
Removing the chairs from the shuttle, through a signature-covered corridor. NASA/Jim Grossmann.
The launch pad. NASA/Kim Shiflett.
Off into the sunset. NASA/Jim Grossmann.
The “flame trench” of the launch pad. NASA/Jim Grossmann.