America’s Space Shuttles: Models of Innovation
Today, people along America’s east coast stood on rooftops, looked out windows, and followed online as the Space Shuttle Discovery flew from the Kennedy Space Center to its final home at the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar-Hazy Center. Here at ITI, we trekked to the roof for a moment’s glimpse of the shuttle as it passed over the National Mall. The space shuttles – and the pioneers who designed, built, equipped, modernized, and flew them – are testament to the power of innovation. Never before had the world seen a ship like the shuttle, and its results have changed our understanding of our world and universe. The shuttle program was transformational, pushing the bounds of discovery and daring the world to dream about what surely is ahead for human space exploration.
The shuttle teams built the space station and deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. The shuttles carried satellites into orbit and gave us a new understanding of our world and universe. They served as scientific laboratories and orbiting repair stations. The shuttles even performed as launch pads, sending probes to other planets so we can learn, for many years to come, about the worlds around us.
Thousands of extremely talented men and women dedicated their professional lives to the space shuttle program. They drove innovation. They sparked our imagination. And, like the rest of us, they are ready for the next exciting challenge that certainly awaits.