Press Release

AIAA Hails End of Space Shuttle Era, Looks with Confidence to Future of Human Space Flight

By SpaceRef Editor
July 21, 2011
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AIAA Hails End of Space Shuttle Era, Looks with Confidence to Future of Human Space Flight

On the final landing of space shuttle Atlantis, and the end of the space shuttle era, Robert S. “Bob” Dickman, executive director of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), stated:

“With the return of Atlantis, the space shuttle era has ended. Another flawless landing concluded a textbook flight that really began more than four decades ago, as a dream for the post-Apollo era. From the time STS-132 landed last year, thousands of people worked to prepare Atlantis, and her crew, for STS-135. No flight is really “textbook” though. Things break, timelines shift, changes happen – and human beings in space and on the ground make it seem normal. The success of the shuttle program is truly theirs.

“Discovery, Endeavour, and Atlantis will fly no more. Some see this as an end, but it is not. Thirty years of shuttle missions, and of learning, growing, and improving, will not be forgotten: calluses and scar tissue; joy and tears; plots on strip charts and real-time visualizations; gauges and glass cockpits; prayers for safe flight and, yes, prayers of grieving; looking back and looking ahead. The legacy of the shuttle era will be with us as long as humans journey from earth to space.

“When Apollo ended, I didn’t know what was next, but I was confident something great would be coming. As the shuttle ends, I again don’t know what is coming, but I am just as confident that something great is coming. It’s time to reflect one more time on what has been, and then roll up our sleeves and get to work – again.

“Sir Isaac Newton noted that progress is obtained by standing on the shoulders of giants – I can think of no better shoulders for the future generation of our community to stand on than those of the thousands of men and women who made the shuttle program possible.”

AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and 90 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.