The final countdown

Today, at 15:26 GMT, the space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to make its last ever flight and bring the shuttle program to an end. At the moment though, it’s likely that bad weather is going to postpone the launch until later in the weekend. When it does go ahead I’ll be watching live, and waving it off, via NASA TV:

We don’t have the same history of manned space flight in the UK (despite this some of us still made it into space), but there’s still a lot of love for the shuttle here. Top Gear even had a go at building their own. It nearly worked too…:

As this is the last mission there’s a lot of sadness in the air. I don’t know whether each launch still feels so special because they never, as was the original aim, became routine. There have been shuttles around for my whole life and it’s going to be strange not to hear them talked about anymore. When you’re a kid interested in space, adults always assume you want to be an astronaut, and that always used to feel possible. It feels a little less so today.