Last Flight For NASA's Space Shuttle

 

The last space shuttle flight lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Friday, June 8th   2011. With the 135th   shuttle flight NASA’s 30 year program comes to an end. The shuttles are becoming old and expensive NASA is now defining  new goals  for space exploration .

Hundreds of thousands of people came to watch the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis. On its twelve day mission astronauts will bring food and other items to the International Space Station and do  repair jobs as well.

 

In the 30 year history of the space shuttle astronauts showed that they could work in outer space . They repaired the Hubble Space telescope , brought satellites into  orbit  and did scientific research  work. The shuttle also played an important role in building the ISS.

Even though NASA states  that the shuttle program has been a success it also looks back at the tragic moments in 1986 and 2003 when two shuttles exploded on their missions .

With the end of the shuttle NASA’s manned space program has come to a  temporary  end. There are no plans for any kind of manned  mission in the near future. In the next few years NASA will rely on Russian spacecraft  to get astronauts into space .

Currently NASA is focusing on a cheaper way of getting astronauts into the earth’s orbit . According to the agency’s plans astronauts will be transported to and from the International Space Station on private flights. American plane maker Boeing has already showed interest in the project.

 

In the longer term  NASA is planning a new generation of spacecraft  that will take astronauts back to the moon and to other destinations , preferably Mars. One of the problems NASA has is money. With its  current  budget NASA may not reach  that goal  sometime in the near future .

 

Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

 

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Words

  • currently   = right now
  • define   = name, describe
  • destination = a place where you want to get to
  • even though   = while
  • flight   = journey, trip into space
  • goal   = what you want to do or achieve
  • launch   = lift off
  • lift off   = start
  • longer term   = here: in the next few decades
  • manned   = with people on board
  • mission   = flight, trip
  • near future   = the next few years
  • orbit   = a path or route around the earth
  • outer space   = outside the earth’s atmosphere
  • preferably   = if possible
  • reach   = get to, arrive at
  • repair job   = to fix something
  • research   = study, find out new things
  • space   = the area outside the earth where the planets and the stars are
  • space exploration   = travelling through space in order to find out information about other planets and the stars
  • spacecraft   = spaceship
  • state   = to say officially
  • success   = when you get reach your goals or achieve what you want
  • telescope   = an object used for making far away things look bigger
  • temporary   = short term, not forever