In case you haven’t been following up on these sorts of things: the date of the final Space Shuttle launch is rapidly approaching.
For the last 30 years, the Space Shuttle has served to carry numerous satellites and payloads into Low Earth Orbit (LEO), perform emergency repairs, perform scientific experiments in microgravity environments, and transport personnel to and from the International Space Station.
After June 28, there will be no further Shuttle missions. The Constellation program was scheduled to replace the Shuttle, with a focus not only on missions in LEO but also on a return to the Moon. Unfortunately, that program got scrapped early last year and there is little left to replace it. There are programs, such as the Shuttle-Derived Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle that propose to take up much of the slack of both the Shuttle and Constellation, but they are still many years off. In the meantime, the USA is going to have to depend on other countries and private corporations for its manned space needs.
While the Shuttle may be going away, there’s at least one group of people out there trying to preserve the Shuttle’s legacy for generations to come.
“The Last Shuttle” Project is a group of professional photographers and cinematographers who have come together to chronicle the last mission of the Shuttle Program. They have unprecedented access “behind the scenes” to show exactly what’s involved in a Shuttle mission from beginning to end. Their focus is on telling the story of the Space Shuttle program, including behind the scenes activities and the people, from plumbers to astronauts, who were involved in making it happen.
It won’t just be a series of photos and movies, though. Through their unique talents and specialties, Project members will use infrared, surround sound, 360 VR panoramas and 3D motion and stills to create a completely immersive experience.
Once the Project is complete, its content will be used in museums across the country to to educate future generations. Historians, educators, aerospace enthusiasts and people all over the world will be able to experience the excitement and adventure of the Space Shuttle program.