US space shuttle's final mission

Without an icon like the winged orbiter, question arises whether Americans will continue their support for NASA.

    The odds were stacked against the final launch of space shuttle Atlantis, the last shuttle for NASA's 30-year programme, and the end of its iconic winged orbiter.

    Through most of the Friday morning launch, controllers stuck to a slim 30 per cent chance of "go" ahead, due to a storm threat from the west.

    But Atlantis did beat those odds on launch pad 39A, the site of the first space shuttle launch in 1981.

    Despite skyrocketing costs in the Shuttle programme and a lack of NASA vision for the future, many Americans feel that the programme was worth the investment. That is an investment of well over $100bn.

    Without an icon like the shuttle, however, the question persists of whether Americans will continue their support for NASA.

    Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler reports from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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