An airport photo exhibition: A space shuttle travelling through the United States
Published23.3.2013 - 07:30
Finavia’s aviation photo exhibition at Helsinki Airport tells the story of the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour and its transportation to the California Science Center, where visitors can admire it. The shuttle’s last journey began by air on top of a Boeing 747, after which it was transported on roads on a specially designed transporter.
The spectacular photographs by seven photographers tell the story of the unforgettable journey of Endeavour. Transporting Endeavour was a huge media event and thousands of people followed the shuttle’s journey from the southern United States to the west coast in autumn 2012. The space shuttles of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were manned spaceships that sent probes to other planets, transported satellites into space and functioned as research laboratories. The shuttle has been described as the most complicated machine ever built by man. Of the five shuttles built, Endeavour was the last one. It flew its last first mission in May 1992, over 21 years ago. In addition to the shuttle itself, which is the size of an Airbus A320, Endeavour consisted of a massive fuel tank and two rocket boosters that lifted the shuttle into space like a carrier rocket. The shuttle is over 37 metres long, its wingspan is almost 24 metres and it reached a speed of almost 28,000 km/h when returning to the Earth. Endeavour flew its last mission in spring 2011. Italian test pilot Roberto Vittori was also a member of the crew, and Finnish science journalist Jari Mäkinen had an opportunity to interview him after the shuttle had landed. Vittori said that the flight had been the most exciting one in his life. “It’s an incredible feeling when the shuttle and its 100-tonne payload accelerate to 25 times the speed of sound in a few seconds and descend at a very steep angle. You can never experience that with an ordinary aircraft – especially when you know that you have only one chance to succeed at landing.”