A Family Photo I Can’t Wait to See

In late February of 2011, NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery will be taking it’s final trip into space before retirement.  The purpose of the mission (dubbed STS-133) will be to deliver various pieces of equipment and supplies to the International Space Station, which is scheduled to be completed later this year.  The ISS is a joint effort by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian Federal Space Agency (RXA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

The exciting thing here is that 5 separate aircraft representing the U.S., Europe, Russia, Japan and Italy will all be present at the ISS during this mission (a first in history).  NASA is currently considering a plan that would allow astronauts to use the Soyuz spacecraft to exit the space station, while all vehicles are docked, to capture what would be a truly historic family photo.  Properly lining up each family member would take a total of 15-hours to perform (not unlike our own family photos), so we’ll have to wait and see if the partners deem the effort worthwhile.  Space shuttles Endeavor and Atlantis will also be taking their final flights later this year, marking the end of NASA’s shuttle program.



  1. Great post. I will truly miss our shuttle events. I feel it is a grave error not having a viable plan to continue our efforts with manned space flight. This is one “family” photo, like you, I cannot wait to see.

    Again, great post.
    Bob J.

    • Thanks Bob. I’d love to get down to FL to see one of the final launches, but it’s just such a gamble on whether they’ll take place on their “scheduled” date. I am confident that NASA’s brightest days are still ahead. There just happen to be higher priorities at the moment.

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