Today, after 30 years of service, the final Space Shuttle flight has returned. The wheels have touched the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center for the final time. Today, the precedent was set. Today we have decided that war, politics and pure human stubbornness is more important than everything the Space Shuttle program represented. Today we have decided that the most advanced machine ever made isn’t as good as killing people on the other side of the world.
No, I am not angry. I am sorely disappointed. I am deeply saddened. Never will witness the spectacular sight of this great machine leaving Earth, nor returning safety. Never will I hear of another satellite repair which breathes new life and new hope and vigor as the Hubble Space Telescope repaires carried out and made possible by the Space Shuttle. And all because politicians are divided into two groups and will do anything to get one over. It is a sad state of affairs.
So to Atlantis, I say welcome home. You have served us well. We will proudly remember your two fallen brethren, Challenger and Columbia, and those brave souls lost with these craft. You have served us well. Thirty years is far to short, and yet far to long. Welcome home. Rest your weary wings. To the others, already retired – Discovery and Endeavour, and those that flew them, I thank you for your tireless service.
Welcome home Atlantis.