Last chance for a great pic (Atlantis)

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Just a though, but one of the two astronauts going out on the EVA next week could get to the end of the truss and get 'that' shot of Atlantis docked to the ISS, in the nick of time!

And another though while I'm at it. Atlantis was supposed to be retired in 2008, and there are some chances that she will be the one having the last dance in the end!
What a great way to go on retirement!!

She remains my favorite shuttle!


Re: Last Flight of Atlantis

CalliArcale":3m7vudus said:
MarkStanaway":3m7vudus said:
Apart from the name written on the side, I was wondering if there is any distinguishing external characteristic on a Shuttle that would enable the average person to distinguish one vehicle from the other.

Sadly, the easiest to distinguish Shuttle was lost. Columbia had black chines (the skinny bit of the wings at the front where they join the fuselage); later Orbiters were built without that extra reinforced carbon-carbon because Columbia's early flights demonstrated that the chine region didn't experience as much heating as had been predicted. Also, Columbia had a special sensor on the tip of her tail which was installed for the early test period, and never installed on any other Orbiters as it had done its job. It was never removed from Columbia, and provided useful data for analyzing the Columbia accident.

The others are visually difficult to distinguish. They are all unique, but their differences are mostly internal. Endeavour, for instance, is the lightest of the Orbiters and thus has the most payload capacity. But you can't tell that by looking.

Very good post, as usual, however I have one minor correction. The extra black area on Columbia's Chine was black painted tile not RCC. This was done for added heat absorption in order to not have a large temperature differential in that area. As you say this concern turnned out to not be valid.
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