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Discovery celebrates finale of Nasa shuttle programme on 15 August

Bapun Raz

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MUMBAI: On 8 July 2011, history was made as the shuttle Atlantis lifted off on the final flight of Nasa's Space Shuttle programme. After 32 flights into space, this iconic craft, upon its return to Earth, joins the fleet's other three vessels in retirement immediately following touchdown.

In celebration of this moment, Discovery presents Last Shuttle on 15 August at 9 pm. The programme will repeat on 20 August at 8 pm.

Nasa granted access to the inside of this spacecraft, which Discovery's cameras capture in incredible detail. The on-site Nasa engineers take viewers under the hood of the orbiter craft to explain the secrets of its success. The all-access special, one year in the making, also features footage of the launch, filmed from Kennedy Space Center.

The programme, Last Flight, examines the past, present and future of the shuttle programme and U.S. space exploration.

Discovery South Asia senior VP, GM Rahul Johri said, "Discovery Channel has always been at the forefront of documenting latest breakthroughs in science and technology and goes beyond imagination to explore the unknown. With unprecedented access to NASA, the channel continues to bring untold stories of the space explorations and those who have devoted much their lives to the shuttle missions."



As the sun sets on the shuttle programme, it will also mark the end of a way of life for a generation of Nasa staff whose lives have largely revolved around these magnificent vehicles. The special follows the 18 months of preparations for the final mission and tells the story of the shuttle programme through the eyes of the people who know it best.

The one-hour special focuses on the key people behind the scenes – engineers, astronauts and others who have spent their lives working with Atlantis. For many, this flight is loaded with mixed emotions, immense pride and nostalgia for the programme, and sadness that it is coming to an end.

The special begins at Kennedy Space Center in the final minutes before the launch. Viewers will be introduced to a technician from the Orbiter Processing facility who prepares the Atlantis for flight, an astronaut who flew on the very first Shuttle flight, a ship captain responsible for recovering the solid rocket boosters from the sea, an engineer in charge of the multi-billion-dollar science experiment in Atlantis' cargo bay, the wife of an astronaut traveling on the last shuttle and the launch director who sends it into the sky.



The final space shuttle mission, STS-135, ended 21 July 2011 when Atlantis rolled to a stop at its home port, Nasa's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.



http://www.indiantelevision.com/headlines/y2k11/july/july243.php
 
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