At 5:57 AM Eastern this morning, about thirty-three minutes before my alarm clock went off, the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed in Florida, officially ending the Shuttle program. This milestone ends an era that began with a prototype named Enterprise and a photo-op by the original cast of Star Trek, dressed like they were on their way to meet John Travolta at a disco:
More than anything, that picture really underscores how old the Space Shuttle is. If you owned a car that old, you’d be able to register it as an antique. And yet, in the early 80s we thought the Shuttle would be around forever.
So, while the end of the Shuttle program means different things to different people, to me it means that at least one piece of this scene from Horizons is now technically impossible:
And to be honest, that makes me kind of sad.