Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands, Ending NASA's Shuttle Program

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The mood was bittersweet in Cape Canaveral. this morning, as the space shuttle Atlantis landed, bringing NASA's 30-year-old shuttle program to a close. A permanent marker will be placed on the runway where Atlantis touched down just before 6:00 AM EDT. In its final mission, the 135th of the shuttle program, Atlantis brought supplies to the International Space Station. With the end of the shuttle era, NASA's involvement in future space flight has been called into question.

Clara Moskowitz, senior writer for, was in Cape Canaveral for the landing, and she reports live about the final moments of the shuttle program. 

Richard Hieb, a former astronaut, joined NASA in 1979, two years before the first shuttle launch. He became an astronaut in 1986, six months after the mid-air explosion of the shuttle Challenger. Heib flew three missions between 1991 and 1994. He talks about the legacy — and the enduring value — of the Shuttle Program.


Richard Hieb and Clara Moskowitz

Produced by:

Posey Gruener

Comments [3]


It has been an amazing journey for all of us. I don't think most people realize how the exploration in programs such as this have reached out touched our daily lives. It's not so much where we end, whether the Moon or Mars, it's the journey, overcoming obstacles, discovering things unexpected that are worth more than any amount of money that could be put into it. We have technologies and amenities today that are a result of stepping out into the unknown.
Fantastic interview! God Bless you Rick Hieb!

Jul. 21 2011 10:34 PM

It's a shame that the Shuttle Program was allowed to end without a suitable replacement. It's another sign of the nation's weakness and shortsightedness. We give lip service to math and science in schools but we show students that these things are too hard and not worth pursuing. Oh well there's always Glee and American Idol.

Jul. 21 2011 09:18 AM
Steve Marcus from Quincy, MA

Who convinced us that the private sector could do better than NASA? Another non-sale of public investment.

Jul. 21 2011 06:53 AM

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