Historic Photo Shows Atlantis and Endeavour Together for the Last Time

Historic Photo Shows <i>Atlantis</i> and <i>Endeavour</i> Together for the Last Time

How’s this for a truly awesome photo? Shown in the foreground is Space Shuttle Atlantis on Launch Pad A. The shuttle in the background is Endeavour, on Launch Pad B. Currently, both shuttles are locked and loaded for launch, should something go wrong up in space with the October 11 Atlantis mission. As Tom explains over at his Astronomy Blog, having two shuttles on the pad at the same time is rare, but it is not a cause for concern.

When the ISS is not available for rescue purposes, as it might not be for this mission, a second shuttle is made ready for a quick launch. What is sobering, however, is this image is potentially the last of its kind. The space shuttle program is scheduled for retirement in 2010, leaving little chance for similar shuttle family photos in the future. [NASA, Tom’s Astronomy Blog]